LA Voters Approve Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulation, Cap

Voters in Los Angeles Tuesday approved one of two active initiatives aimed at ensuring that medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed in California's largest city. The winning measure, Proposition D, would limit the number of dispensaries to about 135 and impose other restrictions on them. A competing measure, Ordinance F, would have imposed no restrictions on the number of dispensaries in the city.

With 38% of the votes counted, early Wednesday morning, Prop D was passing handily with 63% of the vote, while Ordinance F was losing with only 43%. If both measures had polled over 50%, the one with the most votes would have been enacted. A third measure, Ordinance E, would also have regulated dispensaries, but its backers switched their support to Prop D. Ordinance E was losing with 37%.

The vote comes just days after the California Supreme Court clarified that local governments can indeed totally ban—not just regulate—dispensaries, a move that the city council embraced last year. It was the council's move to ban dispensaries that led to three separate initiatives to allow and regulate them.

The city council and parts of the city's medical marijuana community had backed Prop D, while dispensary operators who would be locked out by the dispensary cap had backed the more expansive Ordinance F. Ordinance F would have allowed a virtually unlimited number of dispensaries to operate.

The city council has been grappling for years to get a handle on the dispensary issue. The current number is estimated at somewhere between 500 and 1,000.

– Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.

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