Though Los Angeles has just launched a vigorous campaign to close the majority of medical marijuana dispensaries, the city coffers have been boosted by $8.6 million in tax revenue since 2011, generated by the hundreds of LA medical pot stores still in operation.
City Finance Director Antoinette Christovale reported the THC-tax proceeds after City Attorney Mike Feuer and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced hundreds of dispensaries, now regarded as illegal, will be put out of operation following the May 2013 passage of Proposition D.
Prop D outlawed all but 135 LA medical cannabis dispensaries – those that registered with the city before a controversial and loophole-filled 2007 moratorium was passed by the City Council.
Since April 2011, Christovale’s office has 1,400 tax registration certificates on file from dispensaries, however this only signifies a business has registered to pay taxes, it is not a license or permit to legally operate. Feuer confirmed his office wouldn't ask the Finance Department to stop issuing tax registration forms to dispensaries despite the ongoing crackdown.
Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access told reporters, “($8.6 million is) a substantial amount of money … Whether or not that should be the driving force to keep dispensaries open is another argument … If the goal is to bring more money into the city, I would say they should find a way to keep them all open.”