Backers of a city initiative that would shut down most of the dispensaries in town — allowing only about 128 that have been around since 2007 — say they're a step closer to getting it on the May ballot.

The Committee to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods said late last night that it has delivered more than 72,000 signatures to the City Clerk's office — more than would be needed — in hopes the clerk will certify the initiative for the May 21 ballot.

Organizers only needed …

… 41,138 signatures.

The so-called limited-immunity ordinance would force the city to issue permits to qualified shops. According to its initial language:

… The ordinance prohibits MMCs, but provides limited immunity from enforcement of the ordinance for all MMCs that: operated as of September 14, 2007; timely registered with the City; have not ceased operations for 90 days except to relocate or in response to federal action; provide no ingress/egress from adjacent residential zoned lots; pass annual LAPD background checks; and after 300 days maintain a certain distance from schools, parks, and other designated places.

Credit: Dank Depot / Flickr

Credit: Dank Depot / Flickr

The initiative is supported by the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance, Americans for Safe Access-LA and UFCW Local 770, which represents some local pot-shop workers.

The groups want to beat the L.A. City Council to the punch, fearing that, after the city attempted to ban dispensaries altogether, whatever regulation the body produces would be more draconian.

A statement from organizers says:

The City of Los Angeles is working on its own version of a Limited Immunity Ordinance, but five months have passed since the City's ban was overturned, and the proposed ordinance still has not come to the Council for a vote.

Yami Bolanos, president of GLACA:

We will continue to work with the City in the hopes of overcoming this impasse, but it has been nearly half a year since the ban was overturned. We need to ensure patients have the access mandated by state law and that all citizens have the protection an ordinance provides.

The initiative will likely compete with another that aims to let more dispensaries stay open so long as they get permits, stay a certain distance from schools, and follow certain rules. Its language states:

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.

That one, called the Medical Marijuana Collectives Initiative Ordinance, had yet to turn its signatures, as far as we know.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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