Are there too many pot shops in your neighborhood?
Some community groups think there’s too many along a three-mile stretch of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City—and they think so in Sherman Oaks, Echo Park, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Silver Lake and many other communities in Los Angeles.
And so, last week the Studio City Neighborhood Council passed a unique motion asking that the Los Angeles City Council actually set aside a separate fund for implementing Prop D that will limit the number of medical marijuana businesses in the city. The money (taken from taxes collected by the pot shops) can be doled out to the police department, city attorney’s office and the Department of Building and Safety “for the exclusive purpose of prompt enforcement of Prop D,” according to the motion that was approved last Wednesday.
“We have done things that are ahead of the crowd in the city before, and we decided to do it with this issue,” said Lisa Sarkin, the chairperson of the Land Use Committee of the Studio City Neighborhood Council.
She said she could see that the 92 other Neighborhood Councils could ask their council representatives to request that the city do the same.
More than 65 people came to the Land Use committee meeting to discuss the issue, including 13 who said they represented some of the 15 medical marijuana shops in the area. According to Prop D, only five of those are allowed to stay on in the area—although some of them are supposed to also make some changes.
“How can this be enforced unless we force them to set aside the money to accomplish this?” said Land Use member Joann Deutch who proposed the motion.
Sarah Armstrong, who is a legal liaison for the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance representing marijuana businesses citywide, said she supported the unique motion and pointed out that it could have an impact citywide.
“We support this and see it as a smart idea to get Prop D to move forward,” said Armstrong. She pointed out that the 6 percent of money collected from the businesses go to the general fund and are estimated at $1.3 million.
“What is to stop a business from closing up and then moving down the street a block away,” Armstrong said. “There needs to be some enforcement and something has to pay for it.”
But, community activist Richard Adams spoke out against the motion, saying that it’s a “frivolous expenditure of money and will take away funding from something that is more important to our community, like education.”
The approved motion goes to City Councilman Paul Krekorian’s office. Studio City Neighborhood Council president John Walker said he has already talked to City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office about the idea, and they’re not sure yet how it would work.
In Studio City alone, there are 15 marijuana businesses listed. Three are “delivery services” only which are not allowed, two have opened unlawfully in the past month, and 10 do not meet the Prop D restrictions. Of the five allowed in the area, three would have to move because they are either too close to a school or house of worship, or too close to each other.
“It’s fine that we have this Prop D that everyone passed, but now we need to make sure it can be implemented,” Sarkin said.