L.A. council moves toward legalizing more MMJ businesses

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The Los Angeles City Council took a big step Tuesday toward creating possibly the largest legal cannabis market in the United States, if not the world.

The council voted to develop a March ballot measure asking city voters to repeal a 2013 ordinance that both bans medical marijuana businesses and grants “limited immunity” from prosecution to 135 dispensaries, L.A. Weekly reported.

The move was proposed by Council President Herb Wesson, whose  measure is called the Cannabis Enforcement, Taxation and Regulation Act. If voters give a thumbs up, the initiative would repeal Proposition D on July 31, 2018, and would hand cannabis industry regulatory authority to the council. Voters approved Proposition D three years ago.

Wesson is open to increasing the number of legal medical marijuana dispensaries from 135 and may even support the licensing of MMJ delivery businesses, according to L.A. Weekly.

If the council ultimately places a measure on the March ballot, it could compete with a parallel initiative by the UCBA Trade Alliance, a group of MMJ dispensaries that are compliant with Proposition D.

The council is slated to revisit the topic before Nov. 9, according to Mynewsla.com. The measure also could tax cannabis organizations and crack down on unlicensed businesses.

The L.A. metro area is home to thousands of cannabis-related businesses, including an estimated 1,500 MMJ collectives, most of which still operate in the black market, L.A. Weekly reported.

Regulating and legitimizing the cannabis trade in L.A. could jump-start the biggest legal metro marijuana market worldwide.