It looks like you'll get to vote on at least two initiatives that seek to regulate L.A.'s booming medical marijuana business.
The L.A. City Council today gave its initial approval to to competing measures that aim to place some kind of rules around the pot shop industry. One of the two would eliminate most of the 1,000 or so dispensaries in town and allow fewer than 200 to survive.
The other is more laissez-faire:
It would allow most shops to remain so long as they abide by basic rules such as hours of operation and background checks.
There's also a third option: The council has voted to draw up its own competing initiative, one that appears to be shaping up to look like the one that would eliminate most shops save for the “pre-ICO” dispensaries that have been around since a late-2007 “moratorium” on pot businesses.
Today's decision to let the two outside initiatives go before voters in May was made on an 8-4 vote, according to Alice Walton of KPCC (89.3 FM):
LA City Council votes 8-4 to place two medical marijuana initiatives on the May 21 ballot. (These are the two proposed by outside groups)
— Alice Walton (@TheCityMaven) January 22, 2013
Why all the scrambling, even among shops themselves, to regulate pot shops?
The dispensaries, at least, don't want a repeat of last fall's situation where the council banned all dispensaries only to be rebuffed by a referendum.
The more strict of the two outside initiatives, the one that would only allow less than 200 shops to survive, has the backing of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance as well as the UFCW local 770, which represents some pot-shop workers.