Authorities in Los Angeles have shuttered 500 medical marijuana dispensaries since residents voted two years ago to cap the number of pot shops in the city at about 130, officials said on Thursday.
City Attorney Mike Feuer told reporters hundreds of the illegal businesses still operate, highlighting the challenges of reining in the dispensaries in Los Angeles, which is widely believed to have more pot shops than any U.S. metropolis.
To achieve the closures, Los Angeles officials have filed criminal and civil cases against some dispensary owners, and have sent letters threatening legal action against landlords who lease space to dispensaries, officials said.
The medical cannabis shops opened in the years after a vote by California residents in 1996 to permit medicinal use of the drug, which remains banned under federal law.
Twenty-three U.S. states allow medical pot, while four states and the District of Columbia have approved recreational marijuana use by adults.
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