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Council Votes to Put Medical Marijuana Initiatives on May Ballot

Decision to submit two public proposals for the May ballot will come up for another vote next week.

The Los Angeles City Council voted, 8-4, Tuesday to place two separate medical marijuana initiatives on the May 21 municipal ballot—but each initiative must come up for a second vote next week, when the council will consider a third medical marijuana initiative.

One of the initiatives is aimed at allowing about 100 medical marijuana dispensaries to continue operating under tighter restrictions, provided they can prove they were in existence before Sept. 14, 2007, when the city first tried to place a moratorium on new marijuana shops. The council had the option to either adopt the initiative as an ordinance or put it before voters in May.

The other initiative seeks mainly to increase from $50 to $60 the business tax on every $1,000 worth of marijuana sold. Harit Trivedi of the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, told the council it had no option but to put that initiative on the ballot because it amended a previous initiative, Measure M, which voters approved in March 2011.

Council member Paul Koretz proposed that the council submit both initiatives for the May ballot. Even though the council voted separately on the two initiatives, the vote tally was the same, 8-4. The four council members voting against placing the initiatives on the May ballot were José Huizar, Mitch Englander, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry.

With the lack of a unanimous vote, both initiatives must come before the council for consideration again next week.

At that time the council will also decide the fate of its own initiative, first proposed on Jan. 16, which is aimed at resolving the highly contested and frequently confusing battle between marijuana advocates and the city.

The council's initiative contains many of the provisions already in a “Limited Immunity Ordinance” crafted by the city attorney’s office in accordance with a plan proposed by Koretz last year. Koretz's proposal came a few months after the council voted to ban all storefront dispensaries, only to subsequently reverse its decision when medical marijuana supporters gathered enough signatures to repeal the ban.

Among other things, the limited immunity ordinance calls for the operation under strict guidelines of some 125 dispensaries that were in business before the Sept. 14, 2007, moratorium on new pot shops.

“It doesn’t matter which of these three pass,” John Walsh, a frequent commentator on city politics, told the council during the public comments period. “All that matters is that you enforce the law.”

Another frequent commentator, Arnold Sax, pointed out that after all these years the city council had yet to do anything about trying to resolve the differences between state law, which permits marijuana use for medical reasons, and federal law, which deems any form of marijuana use as illegal.

“If the federal government decides to come down on the landlords of the places that open up with medical marijuana shops and requires them to close up shop or face prosecution, what happens then?” Sax said.

John January 25, 2013 at 05:45 AM
Marijuana may be illegal, but it shouldn't be, as long as alcohol and tobacco are legal, and as long as sugar and fat kill incrementally more people. You can't overdose and die from smoking pot. You can overdose and die from aspirin, alcohol, and prescription drugs - 41,000 fatal poisonings last year - but zero deaths from marijuana use. I don't understand why medical marijuana dispensaries should be limited in any way; while retail pharmacies sell deadly opiates 24 hours a day, liqour stores and bars are open until 2am, and cigarettes are available anytime. 400,000 people die from tobacco related illnesses each year, zero from marijuana. The FDA says it cannot prove marijuana is safe, but after 80 years, they can't prove it is unsafe either. The CDC doesn't even have marijuana listed as a cause of mortality. The Health and Safety code requires the University of California to study beneficial uses of cannabis, but they provide minimal funding to prove what people already know. Open free markets assure the quality, affordability, and availability only competition provides. That is true of tomatos (a $7 billion crop in California), and it is true of marijuana (an $11.5 billion crop in California). People vote everyday with their pocketbooks and by choosing the establishments they patronize. America is about freedom of choice and self determination, with minimal limits on commerce and opportunity. Just legalize it.
Tim Ryder January 25, 2013 at 07:56 AM
@'ERHS Moms' Was your question 'civil'? Again, who are you? Are YOU 'civil'? I live here in Eagle Rock. I've lived here for over 40 years. I've been 'civil' a lot longer than you have. When I express my humble opinion on these board as an Eagle Rocker who cares about his community and is mocked by an anonymous no-name nobody like you, yeah, I lose my civility, especially when you question me yet suck up to non-Eagle Rockers like Michael Larsen and his overpaid bootlicker Jose Huisar. You want to ask me a question, do it at the next neighborhood council meeting where I can actually see a cowardly creature like you in the face. Bitch!
John January 25, 2013 at 08:35 AM
The DOJ reports 5,000,000 alcohol related violent crimes each year. It doesn't associate marijuana users with violent crime, as they are less prone to risky behavior than alcohol abusers. (not including the mexican cartels, who are violent because illegal marijuana is so profitable). Go to a hospital emergency room on a Friday night, and fully a third of the admitted patients have been consuming alcohol, resulting in personal injury, domestic violence, or a health crisis. Marijuana users aren't often found in the emergency room. So again, why is marijuana more regulated than alcohol?
Marjorie Balce February 01, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Isn't there a dispensery by Townsend? The one on Colorado Blvd? I think I saw the bldg. It was green and black. Is that one still in business? I think if it is, its dangerous since the elementary school is close by. I wonder how many are close to our schools and places where kids are?
ERHS Moms February 05, 2013 at 11:19 PM
@Tim: Your hostility is absolutely astounding! By your own admission you do not know ERHS moms yet you are "more civil than I"? You were never mocked; only asked a question. The question being "Are you recommending secession" ? What else does "kick the DEA... mean? Suck up to Michael Larsen and Huisar? Seriously? Your over reaction is amazing as is your perception of imagined slights. As was explained many times parents at ERHS whose kids are being harassed by the administration do not want to give their names for the protection of said children, your hurt feelings not withstanding. Any ground you gained in the explanation of your marijuana crusade has lost ground with your immature name calling. "Bitch" because you were asked a question? How incredibly rude you are! Perhaps what they say about marijuana adversely affecting personalities is true? You either have an answer or you don't to the civil question. You will be very surprised to meet us (again) at the council meeting - surprised and embarrassed. Although it bears thought whether it is wise to give one's name to an irrationally angry, name calling bully. Go smoke your doob, Tim, for peace, joy, etc. so you can calm down. As mothers we don't want MM stores in ER if your behavior is the result.

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