Marijuana Initiative Would Regulate Pot Shops, Increase Dispensary Tax in L.A.
A group called the Angelenos for Safe Access Committee has filed papers with the city today indicating its intent to put regulation of marijuana dispensaries before L.A. city voters in May. The proposal would put zoning limits on dispensaries and require employees to undergo background checks.
The initiative, which needs to gather enough signatures to make the ballot, would raise the city tax on dispensaries slightly, from $50 per $1,000 in revenue to $60, while requiring all pot shops to register with the city, have operators and employees undergo background checks, and respect distance requirements around schools and churches.
The proposed initiative is called ...
... "Regulation of Medical Marijuana for Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Access."
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It seeks to impose some order where there is none following a recent referendum that essentially overturned the city's pot shop ban.
The initiative would bring back rules seeking to ensure that pot is not sold near schools (shops would have to be at least 1,000 feet away) and other areas frequented by children. Shops would have to cease operation from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.
Organizers hope to create "a fair and reasonable registration process" for shops and "provide priority to those registrants who have acted and which continue to act in a responsible and law-abiding manner ... "
Unlike a competing proposal by the he Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance, which filed its paperwork Monday, voters would be asked to limit the number of cannabis retailers in L.A. to 128 that had opened before Sept. 17, 2007, which is when the city first tried to regulate dispensaries.
Estimates of the number of shops in L.A. range from about 500 to more than 1,000.
Under the Angelenos for Safe Access proposal -- organized by 86 collectives, including some that are pre-September, 2007 -- all shops that meet certain requirements could register and be legal.
A representative for the group, attorney David R. Welch:
We put together an initiative to create some kind of reasonable regulation in the the city.
But he said he believed the initiative could boil down the number of pot retailers because of its paperwork and zoning requirements (that shops not be near schools).
Priority registration would be given to those dispensaries that already have their city and state tax documents on-file, according to the proposed language.
The paperwork asks the City Clerk to accept the submission while requesting that the City Attorney's office draft an official summary.
The city doesn't have the political motivation to put something on the books. It's up to the people. And that's what we've done.
-With reporting from staff writer Gene Maddaus.
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