Advocates want to undo Santa Ana ban on medical marijuana shops

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As Los Angeles moves to ban pot shops, medical marijuana advocates in Santa Ana are mounting a campaign to undo a ban on the storefront operations in the Orange County city.

Santa Ana's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries date from 2007. While it hasn’t stopped some collectives from operating, the city has fined them and shut them down.

Supporters of medical marijuana collectives are gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would replace Santa Ana’s ban and create a registration system.

A medical marijuana political action committee formed this year is behind the effort. The group has six months (until the end of January 2013) to collect roughly 10,000 signatures needed to qualify an initiative for the next regular election in 2014.

If more than 16,000 signatures are collected, the initiative could qualify for a special election in 2013.

The Medical Cannabis Restriction and Limitation Initiative puts certain limitations and requirements for marijuana collectives.

To qualify, pot shops would have had to be in operation before the end of 2011 and can't be located within 600 feet of elementary or high schools.

The initiative would also prohibit pot shops in residential areas and would require operators to pay taxes to the city.

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