Most Illegal Marijuana Dispensaries Have Vanished
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Most Illegal Marijuana Dispensaries Have Vanished
Posted by CN Staff on August 17, 2010 at 19:55:23 PT
By C.J. Lin, Staff Writer
Source: Contra Costa Times 
Los Angeles, CA -- Although they lack hard numbers, law enforcement officials say many of the 600-plus illegal medical marijuana dispensaries that dotted the Los Angeles landscape have disappeared since the city ordered them closed in June. The City Attorney's Office says no more than 186 can legally operate under a new ordinance that prohibits pot dispensaries near schools and other locations.
And Capt. Kevin McCarthy, head of the Los Angeles Police Department's Gangs and Narcotics Division, said most of the illegal operators closed voluntarily over the past two months. "We find a lot of places have closed," McCarthy said, adding that voluntary compliance fell short of 100 percent. "But we will eventually get to each and every one of them." The City Attorney's Office said it is hard to know exactly how many dispensaries are operating because some may have opened home-delivery businesses or temporarily closed and reopened elsewhere. "We're still in the process of evaluating what's closed and what might have opened up," said Frank Mateljan, spokesman for the City Attorney's Office. "It's in flux at the moment." The number of sanctioned pot shops could range from 70 to 186 as officials try to determine which legal dispensaries may be allowed to remain. For instance, officials could shut down an authorized shop if it is located within 1,000 feet of another permitted shop, which the ordinance prohibits, after determining seniority. "We won't have hard numbers for a while," McCarthy said. In July, the assistant city attorney heading illegal dispensaries enforcement estimated that about 30 shops may be defying the ordinance. Although most shops have complied with the ordinance, police have not done a recount to find out how many dispensaries might be resisting closure because it would be too labor intensive, McCarthy said. Instead, police focus on complaints brought by neighbors or city officials. Investigators continue to get several complaints a week of illegal dispensaries across the city, McCarthy said. Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)Author: C.J. Lin, Staff WriterPublished: August 17, 2010Copyright: 2010 Bay Area News GroupContact: letters cctimes.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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