STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — After Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer claimed to have closed a large number of pot shops in the city, CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein found that dozens of them have reopened to defy the law once again.
At one such store in North Hollywood, observation uncovered what appeared to be underage kids entering during their trip home from school.
No signs existed at the store to indicate that it was a medical marijuana dispensary, but an marijuana website identifies it online as Harleys Center. Public records indicate that the store is owned by the same company that ran another dispensary, called Harleys Place, about a mile away.
That dispensary was forced to shut down for violating 2013’s Prop D — the law that resulted in capping the number of marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles.
This process of reopening dispensaries in different locations after being shut down by the city appears to be a regular practice, according to Goldstein, who says it has occurred with dozens of dispensaries, despite announcements from public officials.
Feuer, in early April, stated “we have succeeded in closing more than five-hundred illegal medical marijuana businesses.”
However, upon investigation of a list of closed marijuana businesses in LA, the City Attorney’s office admits some are still in operation. It was discovered that as many as 60 of some 500 businesses are still open in some form.
Another business in Studio City, called Dreamland Collective, is on the city attorney’s list as having been shut down.
Goldstein found them to be open for business.
A picture from Google Maps shows Fresh Collective Peace in North Hollywood, taken in January, 2015. Today, the sign reads “In-Time” Collective, which operates under the same phone number.
An attorney for Fresh Collective and “In Time” says they have a different board of directors.
Feuer, meanwhile, defends the crackdown on dispensaries, performed by his office, claiming that even more have been shut down, despite CBS2’s findings.
“I would be happy to see your list,” Feuer told Goldstein. “That may be true, our list is about 30. But 30 or 60, the question remains. What is our office doing, and the answer is 512 shut down. More shut down every day.”
Rigo Valdez, who is an ardent supporter of Prop D, says more enforcement is required, because as soon as one is shut down, others pop up.
“It’s kind of like a whack-a-mole game here in LA, and we think that we need much quicker, much better enforcement,” Valdez said.
Attorney Stewart Richlin, who represents 30 dispensaries, says that the city does not have a right to shut them down, and some are defying the law.
“So the collectives that are opening are taking sort of a calculated risk of civil disobedience that the misdemeanor of Proposition-D is just not going to stop them from helping patients,” Richlin said.