L.A Could Soon Be the Marijuana Capital of the World. But There’s a Catch.

The City of Los Angeles is on the cusp of a ‘green rush’ that could eclipse every cannabis market we seen so far. And yet, there’s virtually nowhere to smoke the stuff.

Los Angeles lawmakers are laying the groundwork for what is widely expected to be one of the hottest markets for marijuana in the country, one that could bring more than $50 million in taxes to city coffers next year…

But anyone expecting L.A. to become the next Amsterdam may be disappointed: It has held back, so far, on welcoming cafes or lounges where customers could smoke or consume cannabis.

That’s a problem because cannabis consumption is banned in public. It’s also illegal to smoke cannabis where cigarette smoking is banned. That leaves users with few options.

Tourists “can’t smoke it outside. Can’t smoke it in a hotel. Can’t smoke it in a rental car,” said 420 College president George Boyadjian. Even many apartment complexes now ban cigarette smoking.

“Where are these people supposed to use their cannabis?” Boyadjian asks.

Bruce Margolin, executive director of the L.A. chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says the city council still treats cannabis users as criminals. But the city’s lawmakers also haven’t thoroughly thought out many of these issues. They’re still busy discussing local regulations for cannabis businesses. So, for now, the paradox continues.