In January, recreational marijuana use will become legal in the state of California. Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin released today a handy map of medical marijuana dispensaries operating within the city prepare for that event.
Of course, the map isn’t necessarily meant for prospective customers. It charts the legal status of the dispensaries, noting whether they have received a Business Tax Registration Certificate and whether the City Attorney has filed criminal cases against them.
Galperin, who has a penchant for fun data-crunching tools and graphics, also sent a letter to the city council, encouraging increased oversight over the dispensaries operating in the city.
At stake is millions of dollars in potential tax revenue for the city. In March, LA voters approved a five percent tax on medical marijuana sales and a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana. In his letter, Galperin notes that this could result in close to $50 million in revenue for the city.
He proposes several measures for ensuring that vendors are held accountable for paying their fair share, including background checks on dispensary employees, regulation of delivery programs, and helping marijuana sellers access federally regulated banks.
On a more individualized level, Galperin says that consumers and concerned citizens alike should take advantage of the new map tool.
“When making decisions on where to buy, people should consider which businesses are complying with the law and which aren’t, and which are paying taxes and which aren’t,” he says.
“We are putting information in the hands of 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.”
According to Galperin, as many as 1,700 medical marijuana dispensaries are currently operating in Los Angeles, but this year just 139 sellers have obtained valid tax certificates in compliance with the city’s tax regulations.