The Los Angeles Police Department shut down another marijuana facility operating illegally in the San Pedro area on Monday. The storefront on West Seventh Street was raided by police mid-afternoon, removing several large bags of marijuana from the premises. Several employees of the dispensary were also arrested and escorted into police vehicles, the official charges are yet unknown.
This closure is another in a string of dispensary shutdowns. Proposition D which was approved by voters in 2013, has sparked some raids across the city in the past several years. According to the measure, under Proposition D, only 134 of the originally licensed dispensaries met the criteria to continue their operations. All subsequent openings of dispensaries since that time have been unlicensed and continue to operate without the proper state permits.
“As long as Proposition D is the law, the closures will continue,” said Branimir Kvartuc, communications director for Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino.
The closures have been ongoing for just over a year, reports Kvartuc. He also noted that in a measure passed last year by City Council; the city reserves the right to sever water and electrical service to any business deemed to be participating in illegal activities.
The companies are typically contacted by some type of correspondence, usually a letter, asking them to shut down the business voluntarily. Unfortunately, Proposition D also gives police the right to arrest and prosecute employees of any illegally operated dispensary. This poses a significant problem for the desperate job seekers that are seeking to make a decent buck.
While Proposition D has been instrumental in keeping pot away from places it doesn’t belong (schools, rehab facilities, etc.) it has caused quite a debate even among legally operated dispensaries. It appears at this point that if a dispensary were to go out of business, it seems at this point, that another cannot come along and take its place.
Even the patients of qualifying conditions are annoyed by the cities brand new “War on Drugs.” Some patients don’t have the ability to travel far for their medication, especially those in a tremendous amount of pain.
“The city is punishing its citizens for trying to get by,” says an owner of a pizza shop near the latest dispensary closing. “I mean, I get it, I do. We don’t want weed being sold across the street from a place that is treating addiction, that’s smart. The city has chosen to flex its muscles through and punish local dispensaries that have been here for a few years now. Why not just issue a few more licenses?”
TheLaughingGrass will attempt to follow up on the charges of the employees involved.