Los Angeles was once a majestic city for medical marijuana dispensaries, rivaling San Francisco with the number and quality of storefronts. The case in point is now documented in Pot Shots, a photo project by artist Ryan Mungia and cultural anthropologist Jim Heimann.
Heimann and Mungia snapped their photos in a moving car with an iPhone camera. "Shooting from the car was a practical necessity. We didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves. Despite being legal, it’s still a very paranoid business and most of these establishments don’t appreciate a camera pointed their way,” says Mungia.
But since LA voters passed Proposition D earlier this year, a multitude of dispensaries had to close down their brick and mortars altogether, leaving behind relics of medical marijuana past. That effectively now makes Pot Shots a collection of transient dispensaries displaced in the wake of progress-hindering legislation. Mungia estimates 30 percent of the photographed shops have closed since the book's release.
“We were very conscious of the transient nature of these pot shops. Looking to the future, hopefully someone will look at these places as we look at speakeasies from the Prohibition era. The difference is that these establishments aren’t as clandestine in their exterior appearance as speakeasies were,” says Mungia.
Pot Shots is now available through BOYO Press.