A city-sponsored measure giving Los Angeles tools to regulate the recreational and medical marijuana industry was overwhelmingly approved by voters Tuesday night.
Measure M easily bested a competing ballot issue, the initiative Measure N, which was crafted and pushed onto the ballot by a marijuana trade group that later opted to throw its support behind the City Council's measure.
The measures were placed on the ballot in reaction to California voters in November agreeing to legalize recreational marijuana starting in 2018.
Measure M, which was placed on the ballot by the City Council, will allow the city to repeal a current ban on medical marijuana dispensaries under the previously approved Proposition D and replace it with a new set of rules for different types of marijuana businesses.
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It will give the city tools to enforce its regulations, such as authorizing fines, criminal penalties or loss of power and water service for businesses operating without a license or ignoring city rules.
The measure also allows for gross-receipt taxes to be imposed on marijuana businesses, including the sale of general-use and medical cannabis, delivery services and manufacturing.
"Los Angeles is leading the country and world in responsible and inclusive approaches to legalization," City Council President Herb Wesson said. "The passing of Proposition M is a great victory for common sense, law enforcement and all Angelenos. We gave communities a voice in the process, and their voices will continue to be heard. This measure is what responsible marijuana laws should look like, and we couldn't be prouder of our city."
Measure N called for giving permitting priority to 135 businesses that have been allowed to operate under the Proposition D ban, and also includes taxation and permitting provisions.
But since the city-backed measure also wound up containing a provision to prioritize the Proposition D-immune medical marijuana dispensaries, the group behind Measure N, the UCBA Trade Association, opted to back Measure M.
Virgil Grant, president and co-founder of the Southern California Coalition -- a local cannabis industry trade group -- said the organization hopes to take Measure M to the county and state levels "so that this comprehensive approach can serve as a model for cities, states and the entire country."
"This measure is evidence that when we listen and work together, we can solve issues, find common ground and benefit our communities and citizens in the process," Grant said.