It looks like, come spring, you'll have two distinct choices on how to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in the pot-shop capital of the nation.
One L.A. city initiative seeks to close most of the 1,000 or so outlets, allowing only 128 or so to remain. Another seeks to allow as many as you want, so long as they follow certain basic rules.
The latter appears to have gathered enough signatures to head to the next step:
The L.A. City Clerk's office today said organizers of the “Medical Marijuana Collectives Initiative Ordinance” have turned in enough signatures to proceed with verification, which could be as soon as Jan. 2.
At that point the Clerk will forward the initiative to the City Council, which can vote to make it law, call a special election, or place the matter before voters during the next scheduled election, which is May 21.
Why are these pro-dispensary groups rallying to regulate themselves? It seems they don't want a repeat of the City Council's failed dispensary ban. The council is poised to go back to the drawing board and create some kind of rules for the pot shops.
The shops would rather take the matter straight to voters.
This “Collectives Initiative Ordinance,” the more inclusive and liberal of the two potential initiatives, says, in part:
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.