|Photo by Laurie Avocado, Wikimedia Commons|
|We got a thousand of ’em! Medical marijuana dispensary on Ventura Boulevard in L.A.|
How many medical marijuana dispensaries are needed in a city with 4 million people?
That’s the question the Los Angeles City Council will be grappling with Tuesday as they decide how to deal with an explosion of the pot shops. Two years ago, when the number reached 186 registered dispensaries, a moratorium was put in place, but a boilerplate “hardship” exemption was included that proved to be a big enough loophole for hundreds more to slip through.
Current dispensary estimates run between 800 and 1,000, and the truism that “L.A. has more marijuana shops than Starbucks” has already captured the public imagination.
Councilman Jose Huizar has suggested a cap of 70 dispensaries; “I’d rather start with a low number,” he told the Los Angeles Times, calling 70 “a reasonable number” since that would be two for each of L.A.’s designated communities. Huizar’s proposal is one of more than three dozen changes the council will consider as it resumes debate on L.A.’s proposed medical marijuana ordinance.
|Illustration: Mladifilozof, Wikimedia Commons|
|Yes we cannabis.|
The good thing about a free marketplace of ideas is, despite the best efforts of prohibitionists and their fear-mongering propaganda, the truth eventually prevails.
That’s what we’re witnessing right now, with the tidal change in public perception of marijuana — both as a medicine and palliative, and as a recreational drug.
Within the past months, more and more of the once seemingly insurmountable barriers to widespread acceptance of cannabis have been looking mighty shaky. Nationwide polls show that more and more Americans support legalization across the board.
The latest Gallup poll on the subject found 44 percent approve full legalization of pot, representing a 13-point rise in the past nine years. According to Gallup, if public support continues growing at the present rate of 1 or 2 percent per year, “the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years.”
Toke of the Town tends to think majority support could happen even more quickly than that, as more “closet” supporters are emboldened by an increasingly public shift in opinion.