Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Los Angeles Votes to Cut its Number of Dispensaries by About Two Thirds

By David Downs
Wed, May 22, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Los Angeles voters chose to drastically reduce the number of storefronts selling medical marijuana yesterday, passing Measure D by a wide margin, 62 to 37 percent.

Watchers expected about 20 percent of L.A.'s 2.4 million registered voters to participate in the city's May 21 general election, which included three voter initiatives to regulate medical marijuana stores. The vast, diverse metropolis has tried and failed to regulate such storefronts since at least 2007, and about 472 are thought to be open in city limits, according to one independent study by researchers at UCLA.

Measures D, E, and F all contained various forms of medical marijuana club regulations. Chief among them, Measure D caps the number of clubs at about 135, while Measure F contained no such cap. All were feared doomed, but Measure D took 62 percent 'yes', to 37 percent 'no' with 380,108 voters participating.

Measure D supporters - including the City Council, advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, and a dispensary union the UFCW Local 770 — celebrated the win for regulations in the biggest medical marijuana city on the planet.

Measure F's proponents say they'll sue, calling Measure D's cap arbitrary. Only clubs operating pre-2007 can remain open.

In the Mayor's race, candidate Eric Garcetti — a supporter of ending the war on pot — won 53.92 against city controller Wendy Geuel.

And in the race for his own job, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich — who chronically found himself behind the curve on cannabis policy — has lost to lawyer Mike Feuer, 38 to 62 percent. Ouch.

One hundred and thirty five dispensaries works out to about one shop per 28,296 L.A. residents. By comparison, San Francisco has about 20 shops, or one per 40,641 residents. Oakland: one per 49,477. Berkeley: one per 28,476.

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