LOS ANGELES—On Wednesday, March 8 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will review a plan to shut down all marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County. The plan has been proposed by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and will reportedly cost $25 million to enforce.
Medical marijuana is legal under state law, but in 2011 the board of supervisors banned all dispensaries from operating in unincorporated parts of LA. Unincorporated areas include regions that are not in a city or that do not have its own governing municipality. The unincorporated areas cover over 65 percent of Los Angeles County, which houses over 1 million residents and about 70 operating dispensaries.
Medicinal marijuana businesses have found success in cities like West Hollywood, where they are allowed to operate. Marijuana advocates are seeking to extend this license and regulation model to unincorporated areas of LA County.
“Legalizing pot sales and providing clear rules is better than wiping out an industry,” said Ruben Honig, Executive Director of the Cannabis Task Force. “You have to be able to differentiate between the good actors and the bad actors, and that’s what good regulation does,” he says. “If anything, these things are out of control exactly because they don’t have regulations.”
Despite the passage of Proposition 64, which will legalize the recreational sale and consumption of marijuana in California starting in 2018, it is still illegal under federal law and dispensaries are at risk of being raided by federal agents.