600 medical dispensaries in LA – 200 complaints total

L.A.’s medical pot dispensary moratorium led to a boom instead – Los Angeles Times

By John Hoeffel
June 3, 2009
Four years ago, when the Los Angeles City Council started to wrestle with how to control medical marijuana, there were just four known storefront dispensaries, one each in Hancock Park, Van Nuys, Rancho Park and Cheviot Hills.

Now, police say there are as many as 600. There may be more. No one really knows.

That exponential rise came despite a moratorium passed in 2007 that was supposed to prohibit new dispensaries from opening. An exception was made for 186 that were already in business and registered with the city.[Los Angeles Times]

This is a really interesting read about the LA medical cannabis dispensary situation. I’m taken by a number of things. First, that there are more than 600 operating. Second, that there were 186 going when the City put a moratorium on issuing licenses two years ago. Third, how much of the article revolves around a meme suggesting that somehow having more dispensaries in various communities is a bad thing.

I want to say more about that third point. The unstated assumption in the article is that more equals bad. You have to read pretty far into the article to determine what, exactly, could be bad. I was ready to write a post about how silly it is to assume something is bad without any apparent bases. And then I found it. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that, in fact, somewhere near 200 complaints had been lodged against dispensaries.

I wasn’t disappointed long. On reflection, the complaints are the exception that proves the rule. The rule is that, generally, dispensaries can operate in your community without any incident or problems. Sometimes, and here is the exception, there are real or perceived problems. This is true of any business. But only 200 complaints, in two years, in a city of millions featuring 600 dispensaries…that’s pretty good in my book.