Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council OKs third ballot measure on medical marijuana

San Francisco Patients Smoke Marijuana

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A third measure regulating medical marijuana clinics will appear on the May ballot thanks to a vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

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.

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Los Angeles City Council votes for own marijuana measure on May ballot to regulate pot dispensaries

Medical Marijuana

Bear Guerra/KPCC

A third measure to regulate marijuana looks to be headed to Los Angeles' May ballot. The Los Angeles City Council voted 8-4 to back its own proposal.

A divided Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to place its own medical marijuana measure on the May ballot, continuing its efforts to regulate storefront clinics that provide cannabis.

A coalition that includes Americans for Safe Access, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 and the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance - which previously qualified its own measure for the ballot - immediately endorsed the measure. While voters may still consider the alliance's ballot item, the coalition hopes Angelenos support the City Hall measure. 

“This initiative ordinance combines the best elements of our earlier version with additional revenues for public services,” said UFCW Local 770 President Rick Icaza.

Eight-hundred to 1,000 dispensaries operate in the city of Los Angeles. The proposed measure would reduce that number to about 130. It would also increase the business tax clinics pay from $50 per $1,000 in sales to $60. It would require clinics to operate at least 1,000 feet from schools and 600 feet from places like parks and libraries.

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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.

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LA City Council considers third medical marijuana measure for May ballot

Medical Marijuana

Michael Juliano/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz is pushing for a ballot measure that would allow some medical marijuana clinics to remain open while implementing restrictions on operating hours and location.

A third measure regulating medical marijuana storefronts in Los Angeles could be headed toward the May ballot.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-1 Wednesday to draft ballot language that would allow some existing clinics to remain in operation while formalizing restrictions on where the shops can be located. Only those clinics that were opened prior to September of 2007, when the city first approved a set of rules for dispensaries, could remain open. Even then, they would be have to meet requirements including:

  • Ban consumption on the premises
  • Close from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Pay taxes
  • Prohibit minors
  • Conduct LAPD background checks on employees
  • Operate more than 1,000 feet from schools, libraries, parks and religious institutions

The city estimates there are 800 to 1,000 clinics operating in the city. Only about 180 of them opened before the 2007 restrictions took effect. 

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