Measure M passed on the Los Angeles primary election Tuesday. The measure makes possible a sort of fresh start for cannabis businesses in the City of Angels. With roughly 77 percent approval (as of preliminary results Tuesday night), M is largely positive for the area’s marijuana industry, but may set the stage for some growing pains as well.
“The measure will … provide the city with more jobs, along with millions in tax revenue towards city services each year,” according to a statement from Adam Spiker, executive director of the marijuana advocacy group Southern California Coalition.
Measure M will certainly create more taxs and legal jobs in LA’s cannabis market. Right now, there are technically only 135 legal cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles. But anyone who lives in LA knows that there are many, many more dispensaries operating in semi-legitimacy. That means they are compliant with all regulations, but not technically licensed to operate.
That’s because Los Angeles does not currently issue dispensary permits, the result of 2013’s voter-approved Proposition D, a measure which essentially banned cannabis collectives in Los Angeles. Those 135 shops were given some legal immunity, while most other dispensaries in operation just hold their breath and hope that the cops don’t choose to waste their time on busting them.
Measure M will change that, giving the city the option to abolish Prop D and begin handing out permits consistent with state law for both medical and recreational cannabis distribution. “This is a framework that allows for control and sensible regulation,” Spiker said. “There will also finally be licenses, and operators can do business without looking over their shoulders.”
The bad news about the cannabis business being better regulated is that it’s better regulated. While it provides business owners some relief because they know where they stand with regards to state and local law, it also means they’re susceptible to further taxes and possibly even federal law enforcement.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell went on record with the Associated Press this week saying that he expected federal agencies to increase their presence in policing California cannabis. McDonnell also seemed to think that wasn’t such a bad thing.
An apparently misinformed marijuana alarmist, McDonnell also told the AP that he’s concerned about the “health crisis” regulated marijuana will bring to the city, elaborating that, “We’ve seen an increase of the number of kids, in particular, admitted to emergency rooms for ingestion of edibles that in a young kid could be fatal.” As anyone with even a cursory scientific knowledge of cannabis knows, there is no such thing as a fatal dosage of the drug.
The Sheriff also said that he doesn’t agree with the state’s stance on non-cooperation with federal immigration agencies to create “sanctuary” areas for immigrants.
Measure M will create a Los Angeles cannabis industry that is tracked in much greater detail than it’s ever been before. As long as the city has a Sheriff who believes in cooperation with federal agencies, even when they contradict state law, and believes that cannabis is a “health crisis,” cannabis business people might not be crazy to worry about the local government having in depth info on their federally illegal marijuana operations.
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