The presence of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, estimated to number between 500 and 1,000, makes it simple to obtain the drug for recreational use, according to critics of the storefronts. The City Council last week repealed a ban on the dispensaries that it had recently passed.
The City Council reversed the ban after medical marijuana supporters gained enough signatures to place an initiative on the upcoming March ballot that would have repealed it.
The New York Times reports that federal law enforcement officials have been cracking down on the dispensaries, and have closed at least 600 since last October, when United States attorneys in California told dozens of marijuana dispensaries they must close or face criminal and civil action. Under federal law, all possession and distribution of marijuana is considered illegal. California law allows marijuana distribution for medical purposes.
Supporters of the Los Angeles ban on dispensaries say vague state laws have allowed recreational marijuana users to take advantage of the storefronts. Marijuana dispensaries are banned in almost 180 cities in California, the article notes. Lawsuits that challenge these bans have reached the State Supreme Court.