In Los Angeles, there are perhaps 1,000 retail marijuana shops, and untold numbers of cultivators, delivery services, testing labs, edibles bakers and concentrate makers operating in the city. Pictured: The Hollywood sign vandalized by a prankster celebrating California legalization Jan. 1, 2017. (Damian Dovarganes, The Associated Press)

Los Angeles voters pass marijuana regulation Measure M by wide margin

Pot will regulated in the city of Los Angeles.

That’s because Measure M was approved Tuesday by voters.

With all precincts reporting, 192,054 voters voted for the measure, giving it 79.36 percent of the total. The measure garnered 49,964 “no” votes for 20.64 percent, according to the L.A. County Registrar’s Office.

At stake was regulation of the pot business in L.A., where there is perhaps 1,000 retail shops, with untold numbers of cultivators, delivery services, testing labs, edibles bakers and concentrate makers operating in the city.

Supporters of the measure were touting it as groundbreaking.

“Los Angeles is leading the country and world in responsible and inclusive approaches to legalization,” said Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson in joint statement from the Southern California Coalition, a group representing all facets of the cannabis industry. “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 be continued to be heard. This measure is what responsible marijuana laws should look like, and we couldn’t be prouder of our city.”

Advocates said the measure can be a model for regulation across the state and the country.

Both Measure M and Measure N — also on Tuesday’s ballot — allow the city to license marijuana businesses for the first time, impose new taxes, toughen penalties for illicit shops ahead of recreational marijuana sales, which will kick in next year.

It was Measure N, drafted by a cannabis trade group, that made the ballot first and prompted the city to get Measure M on the ballot.

Measure N was a lengthy measure that favored existing shops while laying out detailed regulations for where and how businesses could operate.

In response, city officials drafted a much briefer measure, and provided a flexible plan that gives the City Council power — after gathering input at public hearings — to create a licensing scheme and operating rules for marijuana businesses.

With all precincts reporting, Measure N was defeated with 85,492 votes in favor (36.25 percent) and 150,333 opposed (63.75 percent).

Voters in California decriminalized medical marijuana in 1996, and for a decade after that the city didn’t do much to regulate dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers and delivery services that claimed the right to operate under a vague state law.

Then, in 2007, the L.A. City Council passed an ordinance to block all new marijuana businesses. But that triggered lawsuits against the city, even as the number of shops continued to skyrocket, prompting voters in 2013 to approve Proposition D. The measure gave 135 medical marijuana dispensaries “limited immunity” from prosecution, but didn’t actually license those shops or give the city power to regulate other cannabis businesses.

“Tonight, we celebrate a measure that protects communities, and doesn’t leave anyone behind,” said Virgil Grant president and co-founder of the coalition, in the joint statement with Wesson.

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