Amid City Restrictions, Weed Shops Thrive in South L.A.

Amid City Restrictions, Weed Shops Thrive in South L.A.
File photo by Chuck Coker/Flickr

Forget the so-called green mile along Pico Boulevard in Mid-City, or South Robertson's pot-shop row. 

The new hot spot for marijuana dispensaries appears to be South Los Angeles.

This is according to a recent brief on the number of weed shops in the City of Los Angeles. The UCLA Medical Marijuana Research team, led by Bridget Freisthler, found that more than three times the legal number of shops were up and running in L.A. last year.

That's a total of 418, the team says. In 2013, city voters passed Proposition D, which grants immunity from prosecution to only the 135 or so shops that existed before a 2007 city moratorium went into effect.

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While no new shops are supposed to be opening in the city, UCLA found that South L.A., Leimert Park, West Adams, San Pedro, the Fairfax area, Palms on the Westside, Westchester and Boyle Heights all experienced a greater than 250 percent increase in the number of weed sellers last year.

The brief says that dispensaries have been moving "from the San Fernando Valley and East L.A. to the South L.A. and San Pedro areas."

Amid City Restrictions, Weed Shops Thrive in South L.A.
Dispensnary change rates via UCLA

Freisthler says it's possible that gangs in South L.A. are facilitating dispensaries, while in San Pedro a growth in the weed-shop business could be the result of such businesses being shut out of Long Beach, she said.

At one point after Proposition D passed, there were 1,140 dispensaries registered for tax purposes in the city. Authorities pounced, and last year City Attorney Mike Feuer said that "more than 400 medical marijuana businesses have been shut down since I took office."

If UCLA's numbers are correct, Feuer is more than right on that claim. But it looks like there are hundreds still to go.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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