Finally, A Count On L.A.’s Pot Dispensaries: 583

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Photo: The Fresh Scent

​After countless media reports about Los Angeles’s “1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries,” which news organizations repeatedly said was “more pot shops that Starbucks,” we finally have a number, repots Dennis Romero at the L.A. Weekly — and it’s 583.

The hard number comes courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department, which looked at a list of dispensaries forwarded to it by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. The LAPD then had officers confirm the outlets that were up and running throughout the city.

“We sent out a project to all our narcotics sections throughout the city to go through the lists that were compiled by media and the City Attorney’s office to determine if they are in fact still there operating and [to confirm]any new ones that they may find,” said LAPD Narcotics Division Capt. Kevin F. McCarthy. “And we came up with a number of about 583.”
“That number is very fluid,” said a slightly tired sounding McCarthy. “It changes every day.”
The number is close to the 540 shops counted (PDF) by L.A. Weekly last year as part of its investigation into how the retail trade of marijuana flourished (or, as the slightly pot-phobic and hyperbole-prohne Weekly puts it, “gotten so out of hand as the City Counciul stood by.”)
Most of the dispensaries, aside from an estimated 187 (or 137, if you believe the Weekly’s count) registered before 2007 and deemed to be in compliance with Los Angeles’s new dispensary ordinance, are marked to be shut down.
Dispensaries aren’t going quietly, however.
“The city is going to be bogged down by years of litigation,” Rainforest Collective dispensary owner Dan Halbert told the Wall Street Journal.
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