California voters legalized the possession of recreational marijuana in November, giving local governments the responsibility of regulating how marijuana is grown and sold. Measure M and Measure N provide two distinct processes to draft regulations in Los Angeles – the former prioritizes public input and collaboration while the latter heavily favors the medical marijuana industry.
For this reason, the board endorses Measure M and is strongly against Measure N.
If approved, Measure M would give the LA City Council and mayor the authority to amend and adopt new rules concerning the sale of marijuana. The measure stipulates that the city conduct public hearings while drafting the new rules, meaning it would be able to repeal outdated marijuana regulations and make way for a new set of laws while including both constituents and marijuana dispensers in the process.
Additionally, Measure M would create a 10 percent gross tax on marijuana distributors for recreational marijuana sales and 5 percent for medical marijuana sales. The measure is purposely vague beyond these taxes to give city officials the power to come up with new regulations and amend them as needed in the future.
Measure N, on the other hand, is not as flexible. The industry-written proposal authorizes the city to create a permitting program that prioritizes existing medical marijuana dispensaries when issuing recreational marijuana permits and limits the total number of dispensaries in the city to 135. In other words, if approved, Measure N would effectively give medical marijuana dispensaries a monopoly on recreational use permits, leaving lawmakers impotent and constituents vulnerable.
It’s worth noting the original authors of Measure N have urged voters to reject the measure in place for Measure M. If that is not reason enough, it is evident Measure M must surpass Measure N to ensure the legalization of recreational marijuana is fair and viable for everyone.