City Office Doesn't (Puff Puff) Give Medical Marijuana Dispensaries List to LAPD

The city Office of Finance has a list of 972 medical marijuana dispensaries, but the police department and other city officials appear not to be using the list for enforcement purpose.

Patch file photo of marijuana.
Patch file photo of marijuana.

A list of more than 800 potentially illegal medical marijuana dispensaries was not shared with the Los Angeles Police Department and other officials responsible for shutting down such shops, city officials said during a Los Angeles City Council committee meeting today.

The city Office of Finance has a list of 972 medical marijuana dispensaries registered to pay taxes to the city, but the police department and other city officials who reported to the Budget and Finance Committee meeting today appeared not to be using this list for enforcement purposes.

An overwhelming majority of the businesses registered with the city could be illegal under Proposition D, approved by voters last year. The measure limited legal dispensaries to a list of 135 that registered with the city prior to September 2007 and placed restrictions on their operation.

The city has the names and addresses of the dispensaries, and since the measure went into effect, the city has collected $2.1 million from medical dispensaries that renewed their tax certificates, finance officials told the Budget and Finance Committee.

"Okay, we have a significant disconnect here guys," said Krekorian, after verifying with finance officials that our of the 972 business tax certificates on file, no more than 135 could possibly be for legal dispensaries.

Krekorian then asked finance officials if they could "provide your list of names and addresses to the Police Department and the City Attorney's Office so that they can compare it against the Prop D compliant list and begin enforcing against the more than 800 operations that are illegal?"

"I'm struggling to deal with how it is that we're not staying more ahead of the curve in the enforcement of Prop D," Krekorian said.

When asked previously about the number of illegal dispensaries in the city, LAPD Capt. Anne Clark told the panel she could not provide a "perfect" number of illegal dispensaries, which are "forever a moving target."

The police department is relying on senior lead officers to do counts of the potentially illegal dispensaries within their beats, according to Clark.

Building and Safety officials also told the panel they had been unsure if they could get access to the Finance Office's list of businesses registered as pot shops, so it would be difficult for them to respond to a request to map the location of potentially illegal dispensaries.

The Finance Office's list of registered medical marijuana dispensaries is "publicly available information," Councilman Bob Blumenfield, another member of the committee, pointed out.

"It's stuff that ultimately we want to see up on the web with all of our open data movement, so I don't see any legal reason why you can't just turn around and hand it to him," Blumenfield said.

The committee today officially instructed the Finance Office to forward the list to the Police Department and the City Attorney's Office.

Councilman Mike Bonin, who sits on the committee, also requested a copy of the list, while Krekorian said he plans to post it on his website.

The panel also recommended the Finance, Police and Information Technology Agency officials explore the idea of "crowd-sourcing," which would involve asking the public to help identify dispensaries in their communities, potentially using the city's existing 311 phone app.

The city needs all the help it can get, Krekorian said.

"We're playing whack-a-mole here," he said.

The Budget and Finance Committee's recommendations will now go to the full City Council for a vote.

—City News Service
Barbara Snowberger June 17, 2014 at 03:25 PM
It was the City Council who decided to make them "illegal" dispensaries... I think if they can afford the licenses and adhere to the Laws the same as the 135 do, they should stay in business. L.A. needs the revenue. We don't need more drug stores... we need dispensaries for those who can't walk long distances or drive. MMJ prescription holders need access just like others have. To prohibit MMJ holders from the same kind of access is discrimination against those who are recommended to use and choose alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Oh, and BTW... I have YET to ever see "kids" sitting outside a dispensary smoking pot. If the dispensary is following the Law, their guard won't allow it. This kind of statement wreaks of the same vitriol as all those welfare recipient stories wherein they allegedly drive Cadillacs to get their checks and food stamps... It's just RW Propaganda.
D. Jude June 17, 2014 at 04:37 PM
they don't drive Cadillacs Barbara...they drive BMW"S amd Mercedes Benz's...you were half right~~!In the meantime..why don't you head up north to Port Hueneme and help change the Diapers on all those newly arrived Undocumented babies..o.k.??
Christopher Thom June 18, 2014 at 12:58 AM
Every day I see people openly drinking booze within 100ft of at least 3 places that sell liquor, yet there's no outcry to close down liquor stores or take away licenses from markets. When it comes to alcohol no one blames the seller...yet when it comes to pot people will blame dispensaries for all they can - imagined or real. It's as if they still believe the rediculous misinformation about Marijuana spread to scare people decades ago despite all the facts which contradict the lies. Plus, if it's nobody's business when one neighbor drinks a glass of wine, it's also nobody's business if your other neighbor wants to smoke.
David Keesey June 20, 2014 at 01:19 AM
In my area of NoHo there are over 7 shops which I know of, some have just opened up which I don't understand. I've watched people go in to purchase their product then turn around and sell it or give it to someone else. If people want to use the drug for health purposes fine, however, the problem I have is the smoke from the marijuana creates a contact high for myself and others. No one has brought up the fact or even considered those of us who don't use it, however get high off others use of the drug. NOT COOL!
The Beast ! June 27, 2014 at 02:35 PM
These place breed criminal behavior


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