LOS ANGELES — Southern California Coalition (SCC) — a cannabis-industry trade organization representing stakeholders across all licensing categories, advocacy organizations, minority groups, veterans, communities and others in Southern California — announced the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board endorsed its Proposition M ballot initiative. Proposition M provides the Los Angeles City Council and mayor with a flexible regulatory framework, so that the country’s largest cannabis marketplace — Los Angeles — can comprehensively and inclusively address issues as they evolve in California’s medical and adult-use cannabis industry.
“We commend the Los Angeles Times for its endorsement of our Proposition M initiative — the most comprehensive, responsible and inclusive marijuana measure ever to be proposed,” said Virgil Grant, president and co-founder of Southern California Coalition. “This precedent-setting measure will provide the city with the ability to address issues — not in piecemeal — but in a comprehensive way. In a burgeoning industry like cannabis, which is providing Los Angeles with tens of thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue towards city services each year, we knew the best approach was one that accounted for issues that may evolve over time. Prop M does just that. We encourage Angelenos to get informed, support us in addressing the needs our local communities, citizens, youth, workers, local law enforcement, and businesses in a responsible way, and say yes to Prop M this March.”
Proposition M is one of two very different marijuana ballot initiatives that Angelenos will have a chance to vote on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. According to the Los Angeles Times' editorial, “Measure M, which the City Council proposed, and Measure N, which a trade group for the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries sponsored. Measure M is by far the more fair and responsible.”
Proposition M would empower the Los Angeles City Council and the mayor with the ability to rescind Los Angeles’ flawed Proposition D — a measure adopted in 2013 aimed at limiting the number of dispensaries in the city — and replace it with more responsible, comprehensive and inclusive marijuana regulations, according to a press release by SCC. The measure’s framework would enable the Los Angeles City Council to address important issues facing the cannabis industry such as licensing across all cannabis industry categories (cultivators, dispensaries, transportation, others) while giving communities a say in what happens in their neighborhoods regrading zoning, the location of stores, the number of shops in an area, store hours, and how products will be marketed and advertised.
“We couldn’t be happier that Los Angeles Times agrees with our approach and has chosen to endorse our measure,” said Adam Spiker, the Executive Director of Southern California Coalition. “We worked for months talking to experts, leaders in industry, neighborhood council members, minority groups, law enforcement and advocacy organization, and others to develop the most comprehensive regulatory framework and approach to legalization ever to be seen. We did that so Los Angeles—the nation's largest legal cannabis market—-could address pressing issues it will face in realtime. What has stunned us the most though—is the massive outpouring of organic support we are seeing at the grassroots level. It’s unprecedented. In the final days of this campaign, we are heating up our efforts and hope to see even more Angelenos join in our voter education outreach and door-knocking efforts. We look forward to helping turn out the vote and to Los Angles ‘saying yes to Prop M’ on on March 7th.”
SCC helped secure Proposition M’s appearance on L.A.’s March ballot and has diligently working with its members, neighborhoods councils and Los Angeles City Council to evolve the way responsible marijuana policies are implemented. The coalition is continuing to work to replace outdated measures like Proposition D with more comprehensive regulatory frameworks like Proposition M, which:
• Revenue Streams for City Services: Prop M creates a fair tax structure that dedicates long-term revenue streams to support municipal services in Los Angeles. Prop M includes a local gross receipts tax of 5% for medical cannabis sales (down from the current 6%), 10% for recreational cannabis, and 1%-2% for companies involved in transportation, research and cultivation, which are not currently regulated or taxed by the city.
• Tough Penalties: Prop M would establish tough 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.
• Curbs Illegal Marketplace: By licensing and regulating the state-legal cannabis market, Prop M curbs illegal marketplace activity while supporting law enforcement and addressing public safety concerns.
• Communities and Minorities Benefit: Prop M opens up the door to communities and minorities, who have been significantly impacted by decades of marijuana prohibition, especially people of color, who are targeted and incarnated at vastly disproportionate and higher rates than their white peers.
• Inclusive Licensing System: Prop M creates an inclusive licensing system and eliminates unnecessarily lengthy, costly, or overly burdensome delays for those seeking legal licenses.
• Educates Youth: Prop M dedicates funds to better educate Angeleno youth about the risks associated with early brain development and marijuana.
• Reliable, Safe Access: Prop M secures safe, convenient, and reliable patient access to medical marijuana, including for the 700,000+ patients with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy currently in Los Angeles.
SCC’s goal is to continue better educating decision makers on the issues, and is working to ensure more comprehensive and inclusive approaches to legalization are implemented and that flawed policies do not continue to be mirrored, or worse yet, enacted in new markets and states coming online moving forward.