Legal Delivery Services, Compliant Cannabis Shops: Welcome to L.A.

Voter-approved Measure M allows the city to issue proper licensing.

Cannabis has been big business in California for years. And once regulated retail sales actually begin per the November 2016-passed recreational initiative Proposition 64, the Golden State marijuana industry is projected to reach a value of $7 billion, with Los Angeles at the epicenter of all of the legal reefer madness. 

Indeed, L.A. voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday, Measure M, which allows the county to begin issuing permits and licensing to the county's more than 135 quasi-legal cannabis dispensaries and delivery services.  

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Measure M is actually pretty sparse on the details, and that’s a good thing. It [gives] the City Council and mayor permission to repeal Proposition D—adopted by voters in 2013 to curb the spread of medical marijuana dispensaries—and to replace it with a new set of rules covering all aspects of the industry, from where marijuana businesses can locate and the hours they may operate to how they market their products. 

The proposal [will] also impose a local gross receipts tax of 5 percent for medical cannabis sales (down from the current 6 percent), 10 percent for recreational cannabis, and 1 percent-2 percent for companies involved in transportation, research and cultivation, which are not currently regulated or taxed by the city. Finally, it would establish criminal and civil penalties for businesses that violate the new marijuana regulations, and authorize the Department of Water and Power to shut off utilities in illegal pot shops.

Measure M was opposed by Measure N, an industry-drafted proposal that would have stakeholders in the California weed game essentially writing their own rules. Measure N was eventually deserted by its backers, though it still made it onto the ballot.

"The measure will ... provide the city with more jobs, along with millions in tax revenue toward city services each year," said Adam Spiker in a statement. Spiker is the executive director of cannabis policy reform advocacy group the Southern California Coalition. He said the group is "thrilled" with M's voter-approval. 

Under Lori Ajax, who was appointed chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation by Gov. Jerry Brown, state lawmakers have until January 1, 2018, to lock down a solid regulatory framework. In the meantime, Measure M reigns in, but doesn't fully tame, L.A.'s wild west weed market.