Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A.’s Marijuana Measure M Passes

By Henry Meier Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Seeing Green: Customers peruse the products at Venice Beach Care Center medical marijuana dispensary earlier this year.

Seeing Green: Customers peruse the products at Venice Beach Care Center medical marijuana dispensary earlier this year. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Angelenos Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to pass Measure M, the city ballot measure that implements a new licensing system and levies taxes on medical and recreational marijuana businesses.

The ballot initiative, which was backed by the Los Angeles City Council and a number of cannabis industry trade groups, won nearly 80 percent of the vote, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office. Measure M was pitched as a way to align Los Angeles with the state’s new pot laws, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

The initiatives passage was seen as a key step forward, because without a regulatory structure at the city level that affirmatively licenses pot shops - something L.A.’s current system lacks - all marijuana businesses would have become illegal when the state’s laws came online. While Measure M does not establish a number of pot shops that would be allowed, it gives the City Council the power to do this.

The new law establishes a retail sales tax of 10 percent on recreational pot and 5 percent on medical. Measure M also taxes growers and other segments of the industry.

In other L.A. City election news, Mayor Eric Garcetti avoided a runoff, winning reelection with 81 percent of the vote.