>Update: Prop. D is far ahead and the only medical pot measure with more than 50 percent of the vote, as required to win. Vote-counting continues like molasses at City Hall. See details at bottom. First posted 8:57 p.m.
Early election returns show Proposition D strongly leading measures E and F as voters in Los Angeles decide whether to severely restrict the number of medical marijuana shops or allow them to open in dozens of new neighborhoods.
It was a matter of speculation all day today whether marijuana users, both recreational and medicinal, weighed in at the voting booth in great enough numbers to influence the citywide vote. As one journalist quipped on the campaign trail, "Did they remember to vote?" The Battle of the Blunts has been raging for months:
In late January, the Los Angeles City Council voted 8 to 4 to add Measure D to the ballot.The council created the measure after the backers of competing weed measures E and F submitted signatures on petitions to election officials to place their own medical pot ordinances on the ballot.
Prop. D attracted many notable supporters, including mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti who said, "It does ensure access and gives us some semblance of control in our neighborhoods." Prop. D wass also backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has been a supporter of Prop. D and an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana, to which he credits the remission of his cancer.
Not everyone is cheering.
If Prop. D wins, it will be very bad news for an estimated 1,000 post-2007 dispensaries peppering the city that will be forced to close their doors, and that's definitely a loss of many jobs.
One owner of a dispensary that opened in 2011 said, "This is my business. I uphold all the expected laws, and I have no beef with the city council. 'D' will end what I have worked for. It will be a sad day for me."
One dispensary, Sunset Junction Organic Meds, was shut down by the feds several months ago. The owners sent an email to ex-patients slamming Proposition D, stating:
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"Measure D was put forth by the same City Council that has been trying to close all the dispensaries in the city, as well as some of the richer "pre-i.c.o.s", earliest dispensaries, who don't want quality control on their stuff or staff, and medicine, and pay offs, etc... These dispensaries think they will be left alone to operate as usual, though 2 of them just got raided last week. So, really they aren't safe from the city as they think."
Update 11 pm:
Proposition D is currently winning with 91,069 yes and 51,082 no votes, giving the measure a resounding 64.06 percent vote.
Ordinance F, to allow expansion of the city's weed dispensaries, is going down to major defeat at least at this time. It has 55,097 yes votes and 71,871 no votes.