Medical marijuana measures D, E and F on L.A.'s May 21 ballot are incredibly high-stakes, and we do mean high. More than 1,000 dispensaries exist in L.A., taking in tens of millions of dollars annually and attracting 100,000-plus clients. Success at the polls will determine which of them get to stay open -- and which must close their doors.
There are three rival measures. To win, a measure must get more yes than no votes. But if more than one reaches that level of support, the one with the highest total of yes votes wins. If no votes outweigh the positives for all three measures, nothing changes -- we continue in the current limbo.
Here's what you need to know to take sides:
Proposition D: Reducing dispensaries to the 135 that opened before September 2007, Proposition D is the City Council's effort to shut down some 1,000 shops that sprang up after its attempted moratorium. Remaining dispensaries would pay taxes of $60 per $1,000 of gross earnings, an increase of $10. Requires 8 p.m. closure and background checks of dispensary workers; establishes distances from schools, parks, libraries, child care centers and other weed outlets. Exempts from regulation groups of three or fewer patients or caretakers growing weed in residential buildings.
Ordinance E: Put on the ballot by the United Food and Commercial Workers, this measure fell into no-man's land when the UFCW belatedly decided to back the City Council's alternative, D -- too late to remove E from the ballot. Under E, dispensaries, which would pay no new taxes, would be reduced to the original 135. Exempted from regulation are groups of up to five people who "process" or grow medical weed.
Ordinance F: Backed by leaders of about 1,000 dispensaries that opened after the moratorium, Initiative Ordinance F allows an unlimited number of pot dispensaries. All would pay taxes of $60 per $1,000 of gross earnings, an increase of $10. Requires 10 p.m. closure and background checks of workers and volunteers; establishes distances from schools, parks, libraries, child care facilities and other dispensaries; requires testing for toxins. Exempts from regulation collectives of any size that grow weed in residential buildings.