Santa Ana Officials Consider Medical Marijuana Regulations

Two initiatives regulating medical marijuana will be on the November ballot.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A proposal that would legalize medical marijuana and regulate dispensaries in Santa Ana will go before City Council members Tuesday evening. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for NBC4 News at 5 on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014)

    Santa Ana officials have proposed a city initiative that, if approved, would regulate medical marijuana.

    The new initiative, presented to the city council Tuesday evening, would limit the number of dispensaries in the city to a total of eight, tax medical marijuana at a 10 percent rate, and restrict dispensaries to a specific zone where stores could exist.

    The city’s newly proposed initiative is in response to another city-wide proposal written by the medical marijuana collectives that will appear on the November ballot. That initiative would allow dispensaries to exist throughout the city of Santa Ana. Sales would be taxed at a 2.5% rate and the number of store fronts would be based on population, with approximately two dozen to start.

    Mayor Miguel Pulido believes not creating a competing proposal would have been a mistake.

    "I'm trying to figure out, is there a better path that can at least limit the numbers and generate some money so that we can regulate it," Pulido said.

    Medical marijuana patient Marla James has been using pot for 15 years to treat pain after losing her left leg to flesh-eating bacteria. James said she prefers the initiative written by the medical marijuana collectives.

    "When I go to any Rite-Aids or whatever and pick up Vicodin, there is no tax. But this is a medicine that my doctor recommends and I have to pay tax on that," James said.

    Both initiatives will be on the November ballot. If both pass, the initiatve with the most votes wins.

    City officials said there are currently 50 illegal dispensaries in Santa Ana.

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