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L.A.'s marijuana industry: By the numbers
As Los Angeles cracks down on an illegal proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries, here's a fact-based look at the city's pot trade
One of Los Angeles' marijuana dispensaries.
One of Los Angeles' marijuana dispensaries.
Getty
H

oping to regain control of the Los Angeles medical marijuana industry, officials have enacted a new city ordinance that will force more than 400 dispensaries to shut down. Last year, L.A. became the "epicenter" of a marijuana dispensary boom that erupted after the Obama administration announced it would not prosecute operators of medical marijuana stores that abide by state laws. "Although the city had a [2007] moratorium on new dispensaries," reports the Los Angeles Times, "it failed to enforce the ban and hundreds opened with no oversight, triggering complaints from neighborhood activists." Here, the story of California's problematic pot boom in statistics:

439
Number of medical marijuana dispensaries ordered to close shop

$2,500
Daily fine levied against store owners that failed to close their doors by the June 7 deadline

6
Number of months in jail a property owner or dispensary operator may serve for failure to meet the deadline

186
Number of dispensaries that registered with the city before its November 2007 deadline

137

Number of those original dispensaries that remain open, and which have six months to comply with all the regulations of the ordinance

1,000
Minimum distance, in feet, dispensaries must be from schools, parks or anywhere children congregate, according to the city's new rules

70
Total number of dispensaries the city hopes to eventually have

1996
Year California passed the Compassionate Use Act, which legalized medical marijuana for qualifyed patients in the state

1
Number of Los Angeles marijuana dispensaries, located in former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, which have been ordered to close

14
Number of states that currently allow the sale of medical marijuana

$25
Estimated cost to grow one ounce of marijuana in California, or $400 per pound

$280 - $420
Price of an ounce of domestically produced medical marijuana, or around $10 to $15 per marijuana cigarette

$2 billion
Revenue generated in California through medical marijuana sales in 2008, resulting in $100 million in state sales taxes

1.6 million
Number of Californians who have smoked marijuana in "the past 30 days," according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which also claims that 530,000 Californians smoke pot on a daily basis

$156 million
Estimated annual cost to the state of California to enforce marijuana laws, according to the California branch of NORML

$1.3 billion
Estimated annual tax revenue California could generate by fully legalizing marijuana

49
Percentage of California voters who support a November ballot initiative to fully legalize marijuana in the state, compared to 41 percent who oppose legalization and 10 percent who remain undecided

Sources: Los Angeles Times, (2), (3), CA NORML, LA Weekly, NBC Los Angeles, Southern California Public Radio,  The New York Times, MSNBC, ProCon.org, Time

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