Do we really want to become the “Amsterdam of the Far West?”
WeHo city officials joined a virtual neighborhood meeting hosted by the West Hollywood West Residents Association on Tuesday evening to talk about public safety and why the city is aiming to become a cannabis tourism mecca when residents are feeling less secure on their streets.
“I do not understand why this city in a time of pandemic and increased violence is deciding to add 18 dispensaries when we know what that’s going to attract,” said resident Ignacio Darnaude.
The “Amsterdam of the Far West” nickname was coined in a Dec. 8 Los Angeles Times article about West Hollywood’s growing cannabis tourism industry.
“Home to six dispensaries,” the story reads, “the tiny city plans to approve as many as 40 cannabis permits over the next year or so, part of a drive by a group of cannabis operators to promote the city as a global destination for pot tourism under the moniker Emerald Village.”
“If you look at Amsterdam, they have major trouble because there’s so many (dispensaries),” said resident Jay Jacobson. “It’s not the fact that they exist, it’s that there’s too many of them. There’s drug cartel problems that came out of nowhere.”
Two men, including a Dutch politician, were arrested last fall for their involvement in a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. According to De Telegraaf, Rutte had been followed by so-called spotters linked to a drug trafficking gang.
The incident followed the Summer 2021 murder of prominent Dutch journalist Peter R de Vries, who was known for investigating the criminal underworld in the Netherlands.
“They’ve been talking for years about not selling pot to people who are tourists,” Jacobson said. “Have you guys investigated any of that? What value do you see in it for the residents of West Hollywood?”
John Leonard with the City of West Hollywood explained the vetting process businesses must go through to be awarded cannabis licenses, and how attempts to buy or sell licensed companies must be approved by the Business License Commission. He said the city stands to gain $5-6 million in revenue from all the dispensaries and lounges set to open.
Richard Kraft questioned whether consumption lounges would lead to more intoxicated drivers.
The lounges, according to John Leonard, are responsible for educating their patrons and cutting them off if they become too inebriated. They may also offer free or discounted Ubers and Lyfts for those unable to drive.
I urge you to read this LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE article https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/californias-legal-pot-industry-is-still-failing-miserably/ It explains how illegal marijuana business doubles legal business in California and it will remain like that. The high costs of legal dispensaries have created a pushback from owners (usually celebrities with deep pockets) for taxes to disappear so they can compete with illegal dealers. Tracking these businesses’ records is virtually impossible. Most transactions are done in cash and proper inspections are hard to implement. In summary, whatever business revenues West Hollywood is estimating, they will have to reduce them drastically. Simple economy indicates that allowing 19 new… Read more »
You don’t understand why the city is adding 18, it’s called being woke and greedy.
Seriously? Dispensaries are all cash business, so “regulating” or even managing a profit from sales is a fool’s game. Dispensaries are manned by armed gunmen! Seriously? Is WEHO a third world country? CARTELS anyone? Inviting Armed Robbery? Dispensaries attract the wrong “drug selling element” to take prey and advantage on patrons by offering “harder drugs” thereby creating a street presence of criminals like on MELROSE @ COOKIES. THE ONLY REVENUE WEHO STANDS TO GAIN IS THERE SHARE OF PROPERTY TAX and BUSINESS LICENSE. THAT’S IT! SO WTF?
history proves without any doubt That drugs bring crime and the “wrong element” to the neighborhood. as usual The liberals see only what they want to see, only What benefits their agenda . In this case woakness and money.
Today’s Liberalism is not just a religion, it’s also a mental disorder.
WeHo City Council communication is the issue … They plan to license 18 places using 40 licenses … some places will require multiple licenses. The question arises why do we need 18 sellers in 1.89 Square miles? We do have at least 30 sellers of alcohol. What will the landscape of West Hollywood look like when all these licenses are allocated?
Before the many virtues of Cannabis are enumerated*; let’s discuss the intoxication factor. Weed of different strains and cultivation can get a smoker, vaper, ingestor high. Like a cocktail or a beer or most any kind of intoxicant. And if one does this and drives it may result in a “DUI”…’driving “Under the Influence” – the ‘Influence’ is not specified. For more info ask the local deputies. *Not in this comment, however”. Convenience stores need to screen the buyers of cigarettes and alcohol. I am not certain how many of those we have in WeHo, but there is NOT one… Read more »
When it comes to intoxication, alcohol is by far #1 and alcohol Kills More People Than All Other Drugs Combined ❗ Just by its very nature, cannabis couldn’t possibly cause even close to the level of trouble that alcohol already causes. The authority of our state Alcoholic Beverage Control should be extended to manage any and all recreational drugs, to handle any potential problems.
Are you kidding me with saying that there isn’t alcohol on every block (not talking about bars)? There are at least 5 on SMB, alone. At least 5 on Sunset. 1 on Fountain. Then we have all of the major grocery stores, including more than one Trader Joe’s, Pavilion’s, Ralph’s, Gelson’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts. And convenience stores, including three 7-11’s, drug stores, including two CVS’s and a Rite Aid. Now, add in all of the bars and restaurants and nightclubs, and we are talking dozens and dozens of places to get or consume liquor. I cannot think of any city… Read more »
This is just the latest in a never ending series of WeHo plans to “get rich quick.” First, it was to allow the overbuilding of hotel after hotel, many of which are now bust Next, it was and still is to recreate a Las Vegas strip style spectacle of digital billboards which allegedly would attract tourists (because digital billboards are unknown elsewhere, supposedly). Now, it’s a Weed Disneyland. We have seen the overbuilding and destruction of any character that was left on Sunset Strip. The last thing we need is more weed stores. Where does the money go? To idiotic… Read more »
As you may recall, the City hired a consultant a few years back who reported West Hollywood was close to being over saturated with hotels and that ultimately the room rate, (along with the TOT taxes) would suffer. Of course that study was quickly round filed but that did not make it any less credible.
Weho Council wants to turn our City into the world’s new tourism center of cannabis culture. The current mayor says that this initiative “will promote social equity, creativity and diversity.” Because, when we think diversity, we all think pot smokers, right? I guess they haven’t read this recent article about Amsterdam (see below). Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema banned tourists from cannabis cafes to tackle anti-social behavior such as urinating in the street and vomiting in gardens. Dispensaries are fighting back saying that “If tourists are banned from regulated establishments, they will be pushed into the hands of ruthless drug gangsters… Read more »
I agree that 30 or more new dispensaries in West Hollywood is absurd given the small size of this city, regardless of the financial benefit that head shops may provide in tax revenue. Prop. 64 notwithstanding, “all good things in moderation”. Along with permitting new operations, perhaps the city should consider a requirement that the dispensaries also provide security details not only for the businesses but the neighborhoods in which they operate, to supplement the details that the L.A. Sheriff may be short-staffed to provide. Pre-emptively requiring the use of anticipated revenue for civic safety is no different from deficit… Read more »
Do potshops really attract crime? Seems like reactionary hysteria? People who go to bars and clubs use way more heavy drugs… And WeHo has plenty of those.
You must not be on next door. I think the folks who live in Melrose place might want to have a word or two with you about a certain dispencery and crime in their neighborhood.
I feel for them… it’s been a long, grueling battle for their own safety.
Cookies is in Los Angeles and we have not had similar experiences with our West Hollywood dispensaries because most of our local dispensaries are patronized by locals. Many of our local facilities have long ties to the community as they go back to the days of compassionate use where they were providing relief to our friends and neighbors who were suffering from AIDS and cancer.
Don’t try to present the planned new dispensaries as compassionate moms and pops business for eager residents. They are intended to attract pot tourism, that’s why the comparison with Cookies’ debacle is 100% relevant. Claiming that being 1 block west, instead of east, of La Cienega will solve the crime issues is insulting to residents, who know the truth. Comments like yours do a big disservice to residents. Please do not confuse the issue, it’s tough enough as it is
Cookies is in Los Angeles?? That’s the argument? It’s on Melrose, a block from West Hollywood, in an area that used to be awesome! And their gangster, armed robbery committing trashy clientele can and do walk a block into West Hollywood to commit their crimes not to mention, they trashed that entire Melrose area. A bunch of gangsters basically showed up for Cookies, noticed an upscale area and decided to return to prey on and rob innocent customers and employees of local businesses. Pretending we’ll do a better job controlling the vile Pieces of S..t who will drive into West… Read more »
After speaking this morning with a WEHO council person I suggest all facts are found , myself included. I still do call for more Sheriffs on our streets!
Since when does Weho care even a smidgeon about the residents of West Hollywood? They never have. It’s nothing but a “city” created by developers and opportunists.
If you are a resident of WeHo, Buzz, be the change you seek.
Oh sure like that’s even possible at this point ? WeHo wld be ntr off had it never become it’s own city, it’s completely lost site of what it once was and tossed out all that it was allegedly supposed to be. What a crock!
There are a lot of tenant rights renters wouldn’t have if not for some of the policies of past city councils. They might not get coverage from WeHoville but they exist. Check out WeHo.gov.
Right and where are all the tenants rights of all the courtyard and smaller buildings that have been torn down in order to build condominiums to increase the city’s tax base, because as everyone knows the city needs more and more and more and it’s never ending quest to make money
True; the current City Council tighten up on rules regarding tenant harassment but you don’t read about that. Plenty of people in the City can’t and don’t take housing for granted.