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Marijuana Dispensary Initiative Gets Green Light For Signature Gathering In L.A.

Another marijuana dispensary regulation initiative has been given the green light to move forward with signature gathering.

The "Regulation of Medical Marijuana for Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Access," a.k.a. "Medical Marijuana Collectives Initiative Ordinance," is the more liberal of the two so far trying to get on the L.A. city ballot: It would let shops be but raise taxes and limit them to areas away from schools.

According to an L.A. City Clerk's office statement:

Proponents have a 120-day window to collect 41,138* valid signatures. December 28, 2012 is the recommended last day for proponents to file the completed petition in order to allow sufficient time to determine whether the measure qualifies in time to be considered for the City's May 21, 2013 General Election.

The initiative's signature-gathering was approved by the office Friday, the City Clerk's announcement was made today.

According to a summary of the proposal, it would exempt ...

Marijuana Dispensary Initiative Gets Green Light For Signature Gathering In L.A.
Dank Depot / Flickr
... from the regulation dwellings zoned exclusively for residential use, vehicles used to distribute medical marijuana, and certain hospices and licensed clinics. The ordinance prohibits MMCs, but provides limited immunity from enforcement of the ordinance for MMCs that register with the City and comply with certain operational standards. The ordinance does not limit the number of MMCs that can register, but requires the City to give registration priority to MMCs that possessed City tax registration certificates by October 20, 2012. The ordinance's operational standards include maintaining certain distances from schools and other places, passing background checks, not ceasing to operate for 90 days except in response to federal action, and other requirements. The ordinance increases the business tax on MMCs to $60 per each $1,000 of gross receipts.

A separate dispensary regulation ordinance would cut the number of dispensaries in L.A. -- by some estimates more than 1,000 -- to just the 128 or so that remain from a pre-September, 2007 city "moratorium" on pot shops.

Why are pro-medical marijuana people trying to tie their own hands?

Fear.

While the City Council overturned its own ban on dispensaries last month, there's still the possibility that the body will return with some new scheme to regulate the retailers, which some neighbors say are out-of-control.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]