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Medical Marijuana Advocates Won't Get Referendum on Ballot

A dispensary in the San Fernando Valley | Photo by mares8 via LAist Featured Photos
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In the hopes of getting a referendum on the ballot to counter the city ordinance that will bring about the closing of hundreds of dispensaries in L.A., a group of medical marijuana advocates had until the end of yesterday to collect 27,425 valid signatures, according to the Daily News. But the coalition, headed by Mar Vista's The Rainforest Collective's Daniel Halbert, only came up with about 15,000.

Halbert believes that the shortfall is due to the amount of time they were given to pursue the signatures, noting: "If we had a total of 30 days, we would have achieved (our goal). This is a very popular issue, but the city purposely delayed the approval of our petitions and ate up 10 of our days." Halbert says the coalition will now seek consultation from lawyers "about possible litigation." Other dispensaries have already filed suit.

The ordinance, long haggled out by city officials and approved in late January, establishes "a cap of 70 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles but grants a reprieve to the 187 whose operators registered with the city prior to a moratorium," though if any of those 187 cease operation, a new shop cannot take its place. Other restrictions include prohibiting dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet of school, parks, libraries, religious buildings and other sites considered "sensitive use."