Online maps pointing Angelenos to pot shops around the city are not hard to find, but Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin has now unveiled what amounts to an official locator of medical marijuana dispensaries.
The L.A.-wide map shows locations of businesses that have or once held business tax registration certificates, as well as those facing criminal charges by the City Attorney’s Office.
Galperin unveiled the map ahead of the release of draft regulations within a week to replace Proposition D, which banned all but 135 L.A. dispensaries that were given “limited immunity.”
The goal of the proposed regulation is to allow medical and recreational marijuana businesses to apply for permits to operate in Los Angeles, now that statewide measures are in place legalizing such operations.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer and the City Council, Galperin said his office created the map “to understand the magnitude of the marijuana industry, and potential revenue.”
Despite the ban, marijuana dispensaries have proliferated and far outnumber those that received immunity under Prop. D. Galperin noted that 756 tax registration certificates were issued in 2016, adding that some were not paying their taxes.
But after marijuana businesses were required to jump through additional hoops this year to be issued certificates, only 139 got them, according to the Controller’s office.
Also shown on the map are 563 dispensaries that have faced criminal actions by the City Attorney’s Office.
The controller estimates that the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana could be a financial boon for the city, with tax revenue coming in from potentially $700 million in retail sales during the first year from not only the dispensaries, but cultivators, delivery companies, manufacturers and other businesses that are also part of the pot industry.
The city could stand to gain $50 million in tax revenue from sales in 2018, which is the year the city marijuana regulation is due to kick in.
Galerpin said the map is for “both potential buyers and neighbors of these businesses, who deserve to know whether they are operating legally and how to report any negative impacts on neighborhoods.”
But he raised concerns that the city could have trouble regulating the industry if the city does not put in strong enough measures.
“Transitioning an illegal industry into a legal one presents significant challenges for local government,” Galperin told fellow city leaders in his letter. “With the right strategy, controls, banking framework, and information sharing, the City of L.A. will be better positioned to address the challenges and to collect revenues to which it will be entitled.”
Measure M, which was approved by voters in March, calls for the city to levy a 10 percent business tax on gross receipts for the sale of recreational marijuana, and 5 percent for medical marijuana sales. That measure also allows the city to repeal Prop. D, the ban on marijuana shops, and to replace it with newer regulation without having to go to voters.
You can explore the map here.