The size and scope of the Los Angeles medical marijuana market is finally coming into view.
According to the city’s finance office, approximately 1,400 dispensaries have registered to pay taxes to the city since April 2011. During that three-year period, the city collected $8.6 million in tax revenues from these businesses, although not every business contributed to the final tally.
Due to the largely unregulated industry in California, regulators and industry representatives have played a guessing game when trying to pinpoint the size of the industry in Los Angeles.
Estimates on the number of dispensaries have ranged from around 500 to more than 2,000.The number released by the city doesn’t account for fly-by-night shops that exist but haven’t registered to pay taxes or, ostensibly, dispensaries that have closed during the three-year period. So the exact number is still a big question market, though this gives some idea at overall business activity.
The news comes just as the city attorney steps up efforts to shutter dispensaries that are now illegal under Proposition D, which allows just 135 businesses to remain open.
Businesses that attempt to stay open face fines or even jail time for owners. According to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, approximately 100 businesses have closed since Proposition D passed.