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City Council-Backed Medical Marijuana Measure ‘D’ Passes

City Council-Backed Medical Marijuana Measure ‘D’ Passes
Update from City News Service:

The number of medical marijuana dispensaries will be limited in Los Angeles and the tax on the drug will be higher under a regulation measure approved by voters.

Faced with a trio of proposed marijuana-regulation proposals on Tuesday's ballot, voters approved Proposition D, a City Council-sponsored measure that restricts the number of dispensaries to the 135 that registered with the city before September 2007.

The measure also includes restrictions on the location and operation of the dispensaries, and increases the tax imposed on dispensary sales from $50 to $60 per $1,000. In 2012, the city collected $2.5 million through taxing the gross receipts of marijuana dispensaries.

Of the three measures, only two were actively backed by their respective campaigns. Ordinance E was abandoned by the group that collected petitions to get it on the ballot. They opted to throw their support behind Proposition D when the council voted to put it before voters.

Ordinance F, which did not include a cap on the number of dispensaries, was handily defeated.

Supporters of both D and F insisted their respective measures would allow marijuana dispensaries to open as long as they follow a set of criteria and regulations, including submitting to background checks and setting up shop a safe distance from places frequented by children.

Proposition D proponents said the measure's regulations adhere closer to existing state and federal requirements and had a better chance of being enforced. Ordinance F would have set a 500-foot distance between shops and parks, child care facilities and other similarly "sensitive'' sites, while Proposition D ups that distance to 600 feet. Both measures required a 1,000-foot buffer between medical marijuana businesses and schools as well as places of worship.

Under Proposition D, the businesses will be allowed to operate between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Ordinance F would have allowed the stores to stay open until 10 p.m.

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Previously: Tight regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles won early support in election results Tuesday, with a majority of voters so far backing Measure D, the ballot initiative proposed last year by the Los Angeles City Council after medical marijuana activists gained enough signatures to defeat an outright ban on pot clinics.

With counting still underway, 119,434 voters (63.47 percent) said Yes to Measure D, while 68,717 (36.52 percent) said No, according to election results posted online by the office of the City Clerk.

The ballot measure with the greatest number of votes (as opposed to percentage of votes) will pass.  

In comparison to the six-figure votes favoring the City Council’s proposition, Measure F, one of the two ballot measures proposed by medical marijuana activists, won 72,703 votes (42.65 percent). The number of voters who so far oppose Measure F, which seeks to allow an unlimited number of medical marijuana clinics to operate in L.A., stands at 97,726 (57.34 percent).

A third ballot initiative that would also allow an unlimited number of clinics—Measure E—gained 61,800 votes (37.06 percent), while 104,956 votes (62.93 percent) were against it.

Of the three ballot measures, Measure D is the most restrictive, seeking to limit the number of medical marijuana clinics in Los Angeles to about 135. That’s the number of clinics that existed prior to September 2007, when the City Council imposed the first of several interim ordinances aimed at strictly regulating the medical marijuana industry.

Both Measure D and Measure F have a provision for a tax increase on medical marijuana clinics—from $50 to $60 per $1,000 or gross receipts. The big difference between Measure F and Measure E is that the latter has no provision for taxation.

Measure F also favors some regulation of clinics, including testing for toxins caused by molds, annual audits to be submitted to the City Controller, onsite parking and a provision whereby dispensaries must be at least 500 feet from each other.

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