During one of the lowest-turnout elections of the year, L.A. voters will get to vote on three marijuana dispensary measures for the city.
The City Council approved putting its own measure before voters during the May 21 municipal election, although five on the council dissented. Are they trying to confuse you?
Proponents say the council measure represents a compromise between the other two. Not really:
Its key components are the same as one forwarded by the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and backed by UFCW Local 770, which represents some pot shop workers.
The city's measure would outlaw a vast majority of dispensaries in L.A., letting only those 100 to 180 pre-Sept. 14 shops — represented by the Alliance — survive if they abide by certain rules. There are as many as 1,000 or more dispensaries in town, according to some city estimates.
The pre-Sept. 14 shops are the stores that opened before a city moratorium was enacted limiting any more dispensaries from opening. (Of course, the opposite happened, and our pot shop scene mushroomed).
The city's measure, then, could mean the end of 90 percent of L.A.'s famous cannabis outlets if you vote that way.
The main difference beteen the city measure authored by Councilman Paul Koretz and the Alliance initiative is that the city is going for the slight tax increase, from $50 per $1,000 in sales to $60, proposed by the third initiative.
That one would allow most of the shops in town to survive so long as they paid that tax, adhered to certain operating hours, had operators go through background checks, and kept 1,000 feet from schools and parks.
One problem with the two outside initiatives is that the City Attorney's office gave them the same name, the Medical Marijuana Collectives Initiative Ordinance (1 and 2). Let's hope they'll get distinctive titles when they get to the ballot.
Those who voted against putting the city initiative on the ballot include Jose Huizar, Jan Perry, Mitch Englander, Joe Buscaino and Bernard Parks.
Of course, we all know what happened the last time the City Council tried to shut down all the dispensaries in town. It backfired and we now have anarchy in our retail cannabis scene.