Marijuana is widely sold across California cities, including Los Angeles and Oakland, where some observers say the pot trade has been a boon.
The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that marijuana is available at thousands of storefronts in the two cities.
The newspaper said Los Angeles applications for retail pot outlets have surged since Feb. 26, when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced the Drug Enforcement Administration would no longer raid dispensaries.
Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine said about half the city’s sales outlets might be forced to close to control the growth in the number of dispensaries.
“We’re not getting complaints about people smoking marijuana,” he said. “We’re seeing complaints about the proliferation of facilities. They opened up right down the street from my district office, in the same complex as a liquor store. Got the big green leaf in front.”
Although government surveys indicate about 100 million Americans have smoked pot or its resin, hashish, in their lifetimes, and 25 million have done so in the past year. the public is still wary of pot’s legalization.
In California, some officials are eying pot to help solve the state budget crisis.
Betty Yee, chairwoman of the California State Board of Equalization, in February endorsed legislation to regulate the estimated $14 billion marijuana market.
“I think the tide is starting to turn in terms of marijuana being part of the mainstream,” she said. “The pieces seem to be falling into place.”
– Article from United Press International on April 11, 2009.