Los Angeles, May 22, 2013 – As voters in Los Angeles prepare to elect a new mayor today, they’re also judging three competing ballot measures to manage the city’s proliferation of medical-pot shops, forcing residents to weigh the needs of the sick against complaints about crime around the dispensaries.
The results could carry implications in the City of San Diego, which is struggling to establish its own regulations after medical-marijuana advocates gathered enough signatures to rescind a 2011 ordinance.
Alex Kreit, a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former chairman of the city’s Medical Marijuana Task Force, said the passing of a measure in Los Angeles might drive the City of San Diego to act.
“I do think that if something passes in LA that will be another push, like another piece of the puzzle pushing the City Council to say, ‘Let’s get something in place,'” he said.
Kreit pointed to Mayor Bob Filner‘s leadership and said the city is “back on track” dealing with the issue, but it still lacks a concrete policy.
In Los Angeles, Proposition D would cap the number of medical marijuana dispensaries at 135 – the total that opened prior to 2007 – and raise taxes slightly; Proposition E would cap the number at the same level but raise no new taxes; Proposition F wouldn’t limit the number of shops but would put stringent controls such as audits and background checks on employees while also raising taxes.
The proposition with the most votes wins if it collects a majority. If none of the measures receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the issue could bounce back to the City Council.
Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court ruled counties and cities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders.
On Monday, Capital Public Radio reported the state Senate passed a bill that would clarify state law to better protect law-abiding dispensaries.
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