Los Angeles Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Los Angeles Voters Choose to Cap Number of Pot Dispensaries

A victory for protectionism and local unions


Smoke it if you got it. And hurry! They're coming!
Credit: Dank Depot / Foter.com / CC BY

Protectionism wins in the young medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles. Voters have approved Proposition D, which caps the number of pot shops allowed to operate in Los Angeles at 130. The proposition won by a vote of 62.6 percent to 37.4 percent. The proposition protects the first crop of dispensary operators and forces shut the hundreds that opened later. This is assuming, of course, the city can figure out which is which.

Two other ballot initiatives, one of which would have prohibited a cap, are going down in defeat. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Backers of Measure F, which called for additional regulations on dispensaries such as city audits and tests of cannabis for toxins, said they weren't ready to give up.

David Welch, an attorney who supported that measure, said he was prepared to sue if Proposition D was declared the winner. He said the proposition was unconstitutional because it favored dispensaries based on an arbitrary date. He also predicted that Proposition D would be difficult to enforce, saying that many shops that opened after 2007 probably would continue to operate until the city identifies them and orders them closed. "The city has no idea who qualifies and who doesn't," Welch said.

The contentious campaign over how to regulate pot shops divided the city's dispensaries, employees and customers, as well as the City Council.

Measure F supporters warned that Proposition D would create a monopoly for older shops and allow the rise of "pot superstores." Backers of Proposition D, including a coalition of older shops and a labor union that has organized workers at many of them, cautioned that Measure F could lead to thousands of new dispensaries.

Yes, Los Angeles is fully capable of screwing up liberty even when allowing people to smoke marijuana.

Oh, also: Eric Garcetti was elected mayor.

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  1. Yes, Los Angeles is fully capable of screwing up liberty even when allowing people to smoke marijuana.

    It was always about license, never about liberty.

    As this MJ thing drags on my mind keeps drifting to Jerry Pournelle’s Falkenberg’s Legion, particularly Borloi, the Welfare Islands, and the Taxpayer Class. It’s a bit dated but I can’t shake the creepy feeling that we are headed for some modern version of it in the whole drug legalisation march.

  2. “We want pot dispensaries. Wait, not that many!”

    This makes about as much sense as limiting the number of brands of breakfast cereal.

    1. Mmmm… Soylent Stoner Flakes. Gives you the munchies so you eat more cereal.

  3. It’s still a giant slap in the face against the prohibitionists. The city is going to be very hard pressed now to not resist federal enforcement. Take the victory for now. Worry about this silly anachronistic regulatory regime when it’s at odds with the prevailing legal environment. It’s taken 15 years after a statewide vote to get this foothold. Still a long fight.

  4. Though I agree that limiting the numbers is absolutely anti-liberty and anti-free market, I was just in LA, and can state that there are a whole fuck-ton of dispensaries there. I don’t condone limiting the number of shops, but I can understand why a resident might want to do that.

    1. Do the dispensaries seem to create any kind of nuisance, or do people just not like the idea of lots of dispensaries?

      1. I wouldn’t call them a nuisance, but it depends on what one’s definition of nuisance is.

        They were everywhere. It seemed as though there was one on every block, and many of them are an eyesore, but that’s about the extent of it. It isn’t as if there were people hanging around everywhere outside smoking weed and acting a fool or anything.

        There is no good reason to limit them via law, but, as I said, I can see why some people would be annoyed at how many of them there are, and at how shady many of them looked.

        1. I think churches are shady. We should limit the number of those, too.

  5. Californians favor central planning. Who knew?

  6. If David Welch was around this industry in 2007 as much as he is now, he would know the date was not “arbitrary.” Go on, Welch… Keep collecting your $10-20K blowing smoke up the asses of your clients. Rather than reinvesting the money back into collectives, or, -ahem- paying taxes (they ARE on the radar, right?), owners are buying this mans expensive snake oil. This ONE MAN is making a killing, and when the shit hits the fan, he doesn’t lose a thing.

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