A medical marijuana dispensary in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles, California was forced to remove a decal depicting Santa Claus smoking marijuana after dozens of complaints were lodged against the pot shop on Facebook.
Last week, the Harbor House of Dank in San Pedro hired an artist to paint Christmas decorations on its storefront, including the pot-smoking Santa and a snowman holding a prescription pill bottle, according to NBC 4 Southern California.
Complaints quickly mounted against the business on the “Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Watch” Facebook page, with residents expressing anger at the dispensary for putting them in a difficult situation with regard to explaining the decorations to children.
“What do you tell your kids about that?” resident Tony Apodaca asked NBC. “I was shocked when I drove by in the morning knowing there’s a junior high school a block away.”
While the dispensary manager told NBC he did not realize the decorations would cause a stir, and immediately called the artist to take them down, his high-profile stunt drew closer scrutiny to the business, which Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office says is illegal because it opened in violation of the city’s Proposition D.
Proposition D stipulates that only those dispensaries that opened before 2007 can stay in business legally. The Harbor House of Dank reportedly opened just a few weeks ago.
It may become harder to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries in the near future; under a buried provision in the recently-approved $1.1 trillion Senate spending bill, federal authorities will no longer be able to conduct raids on medical marijuana dispensaries operating in states that have legalized marijuana for medical use.
Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Costa Mesa) told the Los Angeles Times that the approval of the measure represents “the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana.”
“The war on medical marijuana is over,” Drug Policy Alliance lobbyist Bill Piper added to the Times. “Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana. This is the strongest signal we have received from Congress [that] the politics have really shifted….Congress has been slow to catch up with the states and American people, but it is catching up.”
Image: KCAL-9 via UPI