Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council OKs third ballot measure on medical marijuana

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It’s official: a third medical marijuana measure is headed to the City of L.A.'s May ballot.

The proposal from L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz would limit the operation of storefront clinics to those stores that opened prior to the city’s marijuana moratorium in September of 2007. It would increase the taxes paid by clinic owners, from $50 per $1,000 of gross receipts to $60, and place restrictions on operating near schools and libraries.

The measure is backed by a coalition made up of Americans for Safe Access and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. That group has its own measure on the May 21 ballot. However, organizers hope voters will see the City Hall proposal as something of a compromise. A third measure on the ballot, from Angelenos for Safe Access, would increase the tax on shops but not limit the number that can operate in the city.

Mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry disagreed on the measure — he voted to place it on the ballot, she voted against.

Perry joined fellow council members Jose Huizar, Mitch Englander, Joe Buscaino and Bernard Parks. Last year, Huizar authored a total ban on medical marijuana storefronts. The ban was reversed when critics collected enough signatures for a referendum on the issue.

The ballot measures could be affected by the California Supreme Court's pending ruling on whether local governments can regulate marijuana dispensaries. The court heard the case on Tuesday in San Francisco. 

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