Support for the City’s 2017 marijuana regulation ballot measure

Proposed by Fitzsimmons / SORO NC on November 16, 2016
Motion failed to be adopted by a majority of Councils before the February 2017 deadline
Passed by
  • Palms Neighborhood Council
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council

Motion

Refers to City Council file 14-03660-S5

The ___________ NC/CC supports the passage of Measure M, the Cannabis Enforcement, Taxation, and Regulation Act ballot measure as an important first step towards establishing a community-forward framework for the regulation, enforcement, and taxation of recreational marijuana in the City of Los Angeles.

Background

In 2013, Los Angeles voters passed Proposition D. Created by the City after extensive discussion with community leaders and forward-looking legal dispensaries, While arguably flawed and indisputably cumbersome to amend, it established City regulations regarding medical marijuana distribution and sales after years of debate and legal challenges. A competing and much more permissive measure on that ballot, put forth by operators of illegal dispensaries, was defeated.

With the passage of California Proposition 64 decriminalizing the sale of recreational marijuana, the City must once again revisit its rules.

A group of dispensary owners has pre-emptively put forth a ballot measure (the LA Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, or MRSA) for March 2017 that would replace Proposition D with highly detailed new language within the City’s municipal code. In response, the City has authorized a competing measure (the LA Cannabis Enforcement, Taxation, and Regulation Act, or CETRA).

The fundamental point of difference is how best to establish a regulatory, enforcement, and taxation framework for the City. Given the rapidly-evolving nature of the State’s licensing requirements, the City believes it shouldn’t be locked in to language that can only be changed by another ballot measure, as MRSA would largely do. CETRA’s approach is rather to restore the City government’s authority to create and enforce regulations (and the ability to refine them as necessary).

Further, CETRA calls for extensive public hearings to solicit input on those rules, specifically from Neighborhood Councils. As the City’s experience with medical marijuana demonstrated, citizen input is crucial, if potentially contentious.

CETRA sets gross receipt tax rates that are significantly higher and more wide-ranging than those in MRSA. And finally, CETRA creates new enforcement tools for the City, including the ability to shut off water and power to the business.

While CETRA is not intended to be a complete regulatory framework, the City has established an active working group to craft the additional changes to the Municipal Code, with the goal of passing legislation in July, 2017 (well before Prop. 64 takes effect).

Download additional background