C'mon you don't really believe all L.A. pot shops will shut down on Sept. 6, do you?*

medicalpot.jpgAs we learned last week, the city can't keep tabs on all the parking lots in Los Angeles, and a few years back came word that there wasn't an accurate inventory of billboards. Let's just say that lots of stuff in L.A. slips through the cracks. Which makes you wonder how city officials intend to enforce a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries starting Sept. 6. As with the parking lots and billboards, there is no official listing of pot shops - estimates range from 500 on up. To be fair, keeping track of who does what is a lot tougher than it might seem - the L.A. metro area has more than 300,000 business establishments, and some of those aren't exactly trumpeting their existence. Anyway, the LA Weekly found a number of owners who intend to stay open, despite the ban.

The city will have a hard time enforcing the ban, and its lawyers will be busy in court. Some dispensaries say they'll stick around until the cops come knocking. And remember that when the city tried to enact a moratorium to put a cap on the more than 170 dispensaries that existed in 2007, the opposite happened. The scene ballooned. Subsequent efforts to limit shops, when the numbers were around 550, again backfired. Now the city says there could be 900 or so shops. So, to summarize, when the City Council moves to restrict pot shops, the opposite seems to happen. Just sayin'.

Let's also not forget that dispensaries will still be open in places like West Hollywood - as well as in unincorporated areas of L.A. County. When all else fails, people will buy pot the same way they always have - from the teenager down the block..

*Update: From CBS2:

The City Attorney's office mailed letters to 1,046 suspected dispensary locations and to 728 landlords to close by Sept. 6, the day a new ordinance goes into effect. For every day a marijuana dispensary remains open, they face court action and a $2,500 fine. The City Council voted in July to ban storefront marijuana dispensaries, citing a lack of clarity on how the city can legally regulate the distribution of medical cannabis and the potential threat of federal legal action against the city. The council's vote allows primary caregivers and patients to grow and transport marijuana.

No offense, but think about the challenges of monitoring more than 1,000 business establishments.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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