The office of City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that more than 500 marijuana dispensaries have been shut down since he took office 20 months ago.
The number is significant in a town where only 135 are supposed to be protected from closure under the 2013 law passed by voters, Proposition D. About a year ago the city's own Office of Finance reported that, despite the law, a record 1,140 pot shops had registered to pay municipal taxes.
Finance general manager Antoinette Christovale told us at the time that 1,400 tax certificates had been issued to dispensaries but that only “1,140 are currently active.”
The City Attorney's office disputed that number, saying many of those businesses that had asked to pay the city's pot tax had fallen off the radar, closed or were never opened.
Late last month, UCLA researchers published their own end-of-2014 count of the city's weed collectives and came up with the number 418.
City Attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan tells us the number of weed retailers in town “continues to be in flux” and that there's no known baseline from which to measure Feuer's victorious 500-plus mark.
He added of the 135 given limited immunity from prosecution under Proposition D, only about 125 are currently still qualified. The City Attorney's office says the exact number of closures under Feuer's reign is 503. (See a list, below, of the businesses that have been closed).
Feuer himself says:
Many were close to schools, child care centers and other sensitive sites. Others were disrupting the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Our office has an extremely effective partnership with law enforcement and neighborhood stakeholders, and we've gotten momentum in our effort aggressively to enforce the will of the voters who enacted Proposition D.
Feuer's office has filed 245 criminal cases against 1,000 people in its efforts to rid the city of illicit shops, a City Attorney's statement says. It also says it has successfully defended the legality of Proposition D against 40 court challenges.
The office uses LAPD's bureau geography to explain where in town the closures have happened:
94 closures in the Central Bureau, 76 closures in South Bureau, 224 closures in Valley Bureau, and 109 closures in West Bureau.