According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, entrepreneurs have driven a truck straight through a loophole meant to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. In 2005 there were four such firms that dispensed physician-recommended uses of the drug, today that number has mushroomed (no pun intended) to over 600. In 2007 the city put a moratorium in place that was designed to curb the opening of new storefront dispensaries. However an exception was made for those firms already in business and registered with the city. To date more than 500 have applied to the city for exemption status, turning the controversial practice into something of a growth industry.
The seemingly uncontrolled spread of medical marijuana facilities – with multiple storefronts located on one street in some cases, as well as nearby schools and parks has angered residents and set off alarm bells among city officials. This week LA’s City Council moved to close down the loophole. Says City Council Member Ed Reyes:
“I don’t think anyone could have predicted how that clause was going to be used. We’ve got abusive folks who are just gaming the system.”