More than 2K new cannabis shops could bloom statewide under proposed bill

While cities like LA struggle to contain illegal pot retailers, other municipalities have banned the retailers
May 13, 2019 09:00AM

Assemblymember Phil Ting

Assemblymember Phil Ting

Los Angeles, like other cities in California, are struggling to contain unlicensed cannabis shops that have been blooming. While L.A. officials are cracking down, they face a daunting task.

But only a third of the state’s 540 municipalities allow cannabis shops. Now, state lawmakers want to change that, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A bill from Assemblyman Phil Ting would require all cities to permit at least one shop for every four liquor stores, or every 10,000 residents. If passed, AB 1356 could allow for the opening of 2,200 new retail cannabis shops statewide.

The ban on pot shops have cut down on expected tax revenue the state takes in, according to the Times. Gov. Gavin Newsom lowered estimated state tax revenue for this year by $156 million to a total expected revenue of $359 million.

Legalized recreational cannabis has created a real estate rush for investors and developers catering to retail, grow operations, and product manufacturing. There are 631 shops statewide and many of them are concentrated in coastal cities . L.A. leads the pack with 84, followed by San Francisco’s 32 and Santa Ana’s 29.

Many in rural parts of the state have no access to legal cannabis. There are concerns in some cities over pot’s legal status at the federal level. For now, cannabis is an all-cash business. Some local leaders in cities that could be subject to the requirement call it government overreach.

“This bill is an example of Sacramento deciding what should happen at the local level, and it’s just wrong,” said Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. [LAT]Dennis Lynch