Repeated state and city efforts to bring the chaotic situation under control have had little effect. A move by the City Council in 2007 to register medical marijuana dispensaries, for instance, led instead to an unexpected proliferation. An attempt to limit them in 2010 drew 66 lawsuits and a court-ordered injunction. An ordinance to ban them outright in 2012 was quickly repealed after marijuana businesses gathered enough signatures for a referendum to overturn the measure. Court decisions designed to clarify the murky laws have instead contradicted one another.
Today, there are an estimated 850 dispensaries — or maybe it’s 1,000 or 1,600 (no one seems sure) — operating in Los Angeles despite the city’s position that they’re illegal. Everyone knows that medical marijuana can be easily obtained by recreational users who aren’t truly sick. The “medicine” is not monitored by the government for potential health or safety problems; the dispensaries, by many accounts, are not nonprofit “collectives,” as state law req. . . . . READ MORE