LOS ANGELES — Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide how Los Angeles should regulate medical marijuana storefronts that have cropped up over the past several years.
The three measures are aimed at providing the legal framework for an industry that has flourished. Local lawmakers have sought to balance the need for medical pot for the sick versus neighborhood complaints about crime.
Proposition D would cap the number of collectives that opened prior to 2007 — about 135 — and raise taxes slightly; Proposition E also would permit the pre-2007 clinics but raise no new taxes; Proposition F wouldn't limit the number of pot shops but put stringent controls, such as audits and background checks, on employees. It also raises taxes.
Proposition E backers have thrown their support behind Proposition D, which has been endorsed by several councilmembers.
The proposition with the most votes wins, but only if it collects a majority. If none of the measures receives more than 50 percent, the issue could go back to the City Council, which got better guidance earlier this month when the state Supreme Court ruled cities and counties can ban dispensaries.
Three years ago, an ordinance was passed that slashed the number of collectives from roughly 1,000 to 70. But the city was bombarded with dozens of lawsuits by dispensaries and the local law expired last year, leading to another surge of pot shops.
Last summer, the city approved a ban, but two months later repealed it after enough signatures were gathered to get the measures on the ballot.
Officials now estimate several hundred dispensaries remain open in the nation's second-largest city.
Pot remains illegal under federal law and the U.S. government has raided clinics, prosecuted owners and filed lawsuits against landlords as part of a crackdown in California.