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Measure M Passes By Wide Margin, Allowing City To Regulate Marijuana Sales

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Measure M, the City Council-backed ballot measure that aims to regulate the marijuana businesses in L.A., has passed by an overwhelming majority. With all precincts reporting, the ballot measure was approved by nearly 80% of voters on Tuesday.

The measure pushes for the regulation, taxation, and enforcement of cannabis sales, granting City Council the authority to amend and create regulations regarding the commercialization of pot. This comes after the November ballot, when Californians voted to legalize marijuana in the state. That passage, however, didn't lay out a clear blueprint as to who can grow marijuana, make and sell related products, and where pot businesses can set up shop,according to the L.A. Times (who endorsed Measure M).

Measure M, then, aims to lay out the laws locally. It's set to roll out an all-encompassing set of rules that, among other things, say where pot businesses can crop up, and the hours they may hold. As noted at Ballotpedia, it's set to impose a local gross receipts tax of 5% on medical cannabis (a markdown from the previous 6%), a gross receipts tax of 10% on recreation sales, as well as a gross receipts tax of 1% for the transportation, research, manufacturing, and cultivation of cannabis. The measure will also allow the City Council to issue permits. As noted by LA weekly, the council will also be responsible for regulation of the transportation of cannabis, which could “include green-lighting delivery services and apps."

Also of note, the passage of M effectively repeals Proposition D, the 2013 ballot initiative that outlawed medical cannabis dispensaries while simultaneously giving “limited legal immunity” to approximately 135 existing dispensaries.

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"This is a framework that allows for control and sensible regulation," Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, said last month, according to LA Weekly. "There will also finally be licenses, and operators can do business without looking over their shoulders."

"In a city like Los Angeles, regulations might try to maintain public safety, maximize tax revenue, attract the best entrepreneurs, or all three," said Merry Jane, a hobbyist site for cannabis. "Measure M would unify these powers under the City Council, and has earned widespread support in the area's legal cannabis industry."

While the measure aims to regulate, its details are fairly scant at the moment, notes the Times. This is seen by some as a positive, as it allows wiggle room for the nascent industry to figure itself out. Many of the regulations have yet to be written and adopted; they'll be done so after a series of public hearings. "Of course, nobody can predict all the issues that will arise in the new marijuana marketplace," says the Times editorial board. "That’s why the best part of Measure M is that it gives city leaders the flexibility to tweak, repeal or add new regulations as needed, rather than having to go back to the voters."

Measure N, a competing measure that was drawn up by the industry itself, was shot down by approximately 64% of voters on Tuesday. The measure would have largely given the reins over to the 135 dispensaries that were allowed under Proposition D. Concerns of a monopoly hovered over the measure. Its initial backers later switched over to supporting Measure M.

"Los Angeles is leading the country and world in responsible and inclusive approaches to legalization," City Council President Herb Wesson said, according to NBC4. "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 continue to be heard. This measure is what responsible marijuana laws should look like, and we couldn't be prouder of our city."

With additional reporting by Layla Halabian.