Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Two medical marijuana measures inch closer to May ballot

People smoke a joint during a demonstrat

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Two measures that would regulate medical marijuana clinics will likely appear on the May ballot thanks to a vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

In a preliminary votes Tuesday, a majority of the Los Angeles City Council backed a measure to place competing medical marijuana initiatives on the May ballot.

A third proposal from Councilman Paul Koretz could also be placed on the May ballot when the city council revisits the issue next week. Because the two measures were approved 8-4 Tuesday, they will require second votes next week. The four dissenting votes were from Council members Mitch Englander, Jose Huizar, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry. (Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Eric Garcetti were absent from meeting.)

The first measure would limit medical marijuana permits to only those dispensaries that have been in operation and compliance since September 2007.  The second measure would allow an unlimited number of clinics to operate, while also increasing the city’s tax on them. Clinic owners now pay $50 per $1,000 of gross receipts. This measure would increase that to $60.

The L.A. City Council could have voted to adopt both ordinances rather than placing them on the ballot.

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