A medical marijuana shop in the San Fernando Valley. Photo by Laurie Avocado via Wikimedia Commons
A medical marijuana shop in the San Fernando Valley. Photo by Laurie Avocado via Wikimedia Commons

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to prepare a measure for the March ballot that would repeal Proposition D, a city ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

The council asked the city attorney to draw up a ballot measure that would not only lift the ban, but also would call for imposing taxes on marijuana business activity and setting fines and other enforcement rules targeting unlicensed businesses.

The proposed measure, which is expected to come back for City Council vote by a Nov. 9 cutoff date, is prompted by a state law going into effect Jan. 1, 2018, that will require municipalities to set up some type of permitting or licensing procedure for marijuana-related activity.

The city’s measure could compete with another measure put forward by marijuana dispensary operators that calls for a permitting system and gives priority to up to 135 dispensaries that enjoyed immunity from the Proposition D ban. The council also took action Tuesday to give tentative approval to placing that measure on the ballot.

The citizen-initiated measure also calls for giving the City Council the ability to establish permits available to other types of marijuana businesses, such as cultivators and delivery services.

In the event that California voters in November pass a statewide measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the citizen initiative calls for allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to also sell cannabis to adults for non-medical use. The city would impose a business tax of $80 for every $1,000 of gross receipts, under the measure.

To prepare for the potential and existing statewide measures, the City Council will be holding public hearings over the next few months to get feedback on potential legislation for marijuana business permits.

The first meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 47108 W. Washington Blvd. Additional hearings are scheduled Nov. 29 in the council chamber at Los Angeles City Hall, and Dec. 7 at Van Nuys City Hall, 14410 Sylvan St.

—City News Service

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