Rival Marijuana Measures Set for a Vote Next Month

The rivalry among medical marijuana advocates backing one of three proposals to regulate the drug within the city of Los Angeles has been sharpening in recent weeks.
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Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers understand that each measure has collected its own group of supporters, though one of those, Initiative Ordinance E, has largely been abandoned by its primary stronghold of dispensary union employees in favor of a similar measure, Proposition D, which is backed by city council.

The other proposal, Measure F, is supported by a number of medical marijuana dispensaries and patients’ groups.

The competition is biting, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that both sides are allege that the other is only pledging support for one measure over another in order to fatten their pockets.

One thing is clear: Any one of these measures is preferable to the action that was passed and almost implemented last year. Last summer, council voted to ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries.

We recently offered an in-depth look at what each of these measures would mean in a recent Marijuana Lawyer Blog post.

Here’s the abridged version:

  • Initiative Ordinance E would allow only older shops – those in existing since 2007, when the city first placed a moratorium on new operations – and it would not raise taxes for shop owners.
  • Proposition D, the measure backed by council and also the Los Angeles County Democratic Club and now the labor union, would also limit the number of dispensaries to those in existence as of 2007, but it would also increase taxes for dispensaries.
  • Meanwhile, Measure F would not place any limit on the number of marijuana dispensaries, but they would be required to submit to regular city audits, test their product for certain toxins and keep a certain distance away from parks, schools and other dispensaries.

The primary reason why the union has shifted its support had do with the fact that the winning measure will have to get more than 50 percent of the vote in order to pass. If none of those three receives approval from the majority of voters, they will all fail – and we’ll be back to square one.

Opponents of Proposition D say that it would create a monopoly for older shops, of which there are about 200 or so. This kind of cornering of the market would essentially create an opportunity for “pot superstores,” which opponents say would increase crime rates and encourage massive operations. Supporters say market forces – not government – should be the primary decider of the number of dispensaries.

Opponents of Measure F, meanwhile, say that the current model hasn’t worked, as there are a heavy concentration of shops in certain areas of the city.

Either way, voters will have a tough choice. The city has played tug-of-war for years on this issue, and it’s part of an ongoing saga of contradictory court opinions on whether cities even have the right to regulate access to marijuana in California.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Rival marijuana measures thrown into the electoral pot, April 21, 2013, By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
More Blog Entries:
Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries Put to a Vote, Part 2, April 14, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog