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Medical Marijuana Initiative to Go to City Council

A measure that would significantly reduce the number of pot dispensaries in Los Angeles, while setting tighter operating restrictions, has garnered the required signatures, city clerk says.

An initiative that would allow about 100 medical marijuana shops to continue operating under tighter restrictions in Los Angeles is expected to be considered by the City Council later this month.

City Clerk June Lagmay announced on Wednesday that backers of the initiative, dubbed the "Medical Marijuana Collectives Initiative Ordinance," had gathered the required 41,138 signatures on a petition.

The clerk's certification sends the initiative to the City Council, which can adopt the ordinance as is, call a special election, or place the item on the May 21 general municipal election ballot. The City Council is expected to make a decision on the measure this month.

If enacted, the measure would reduce the number of medical marijuana dispensaries from somewhere in the hundreds down to about 100 that would operate under various restrictions, including business hours and location. Key to hitting to that target number is a provision that would require the dispensaries to prove they were operating before Sept. 14, 2007, when the city first tried to place a moratorium on new pot shops.

The group sponsoring the initiative is called the Committee to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods. It is made up of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and Americans for Safe Access L.A.

UFCW Local 770 President Rick Icaza said the initiative would "guarantee safe access to medical cannabis for those suffering from debilitating and painful diseases and conditions, while at the same time enforcing the rule of law and protecting neighborhoods."

Icaza urged the City Council to adopt the ordinance instead of placing it on the ballot. 

"It's time to stop playing politics with people's health and the safety of our communities," Icaza said, referring to the city's years of attempts to regulate medical marijuana.

The latest attempt came in July, when the City Council voted to ban all storefront dispensaries. That effort was reversed in October when medical marijuana supporters gathered enough signatures to repeal the ban.

Meanwhile, a group backing a separate medical marijuana initiative last month submitted more than 73,500 petition signatures to qualify a measure that would place similar time and place restrictions on dispensaries, but would not limit the number to those that opened prior to the Sept. 14, 2007 cutoff.

That initiative, backed by a group called Angelenos for Safe Access, would allow storefront medical cannabis collectives to operate if they are at least 500 to 1,000 feet from schools, parks, libraries, childcare centers and religious institutions. It would also impose a business tax of $60 on every $1,000 of marijuana sold at the dispensaries.

Barry Cullison January 07, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Dan it's nice to find a brother in arms.
Cricket January 07, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Michael: !st off, these aren't dispensaries, they are Collectives. What I can't get from Walgreen's is a say in how the operation is run. As a member of my Collective, I get to vote on what non-profit to donate proceeds to, what services are offered to patients, what events my Collective takes part in, etc. This is the same reason I belong to a Credit Union and not a big bank. Should I not have that choice either because Credit Unions are an eye sore to some individuals? It isn't always about getting stoned. Get with the program.
Cricket January 07, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Sorry, replied to the wrong post. Hopefully this answers Mikey's question. Michael: 1st off, these aren't dispensaries, they are Collectives. What I can't get from Walgreen's is a say in how the operation is run. As a member of my Collective, I get to vote on what non-profit to donate proceeds to, what services are offered to patients, what events my Collective takes part in, what types of strains they will get in, what community events we volunteer for, etc. This is the same reason I belong to a Credit Union and not a big bank. Should I not have that choice either because Credit Unions are an eye sore to some individuals? It isn't always about getting stoned. Get with the program.
Patrick Duff January 13, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Now with the second initiative, sponsered by David Welch, the lawyer who represents hundreds of collectives without any insurance, I almost had a stroke when I read it. It actually states that all collectives must be authorized by state and FEDERAL law. Yup, it says, FEDERAL law. Not once, not twice, but several times. It also gives full power back to the city council to ammend the ordnance by a majority vote. Now I don't know any other voters initiative that has sought to take the power away from the legislature only to hand it right back to them on a platter. It goes against the point of a voters initiatve. Just read section 5 of the initiative, the last paragraph, which most never bother reading. Both initiatives are self serving, one serving the interests of the small group of owners, the other serving the devious nature of David Welch's plan to do the dirty work of the city attorney and feds. If they wanted to really make a difference they would have decriminalized marijuana in this city and taken a step forward like washington and Colorado have done, not create more of an impedement to freeing the most useful plant on the earth. Both of these seek more prohibitions through what they say are better rules for the "patients" and "communities", when they should just admit they are playing Milton Bradley games and trying to get the get out of jail free card and Boardwalk and park Place.
Damian January 24, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Walgreens and Rite Aid doesn't sell marijuana idiot. Maybe if they did, then we wouldn't have people like you complaining all the time about dispensaries "attracting crime." Michael, dear.. you just answered your own question. It needs to be legalized like alcohol and tobacco, because I never see people standing outside of shops trying to re-sell packs of cigarettes or bottles of beer.

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