Medical Marijuana Supporters Hope Ballot Initiative Will Force Long Beach to Regulate Dispensaries

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Medical Marijuana

A group of medical marijuana advocates hope a ballot initiative will force the City of Long Beach to regulate dispensaries rather than ban them outright.

Medical Marijuana advocates in Long Beach filed documents yesterday notifying the City of their intent to collect signatures to authorize a Ballot Initiative. The proposed measure would require City officials to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries to comply with California State law. In addition to limiting the number of dispensaries in Long Beach, and ensuring that they are not located near schools, public beaches and parks, the initiative calls for a tax of up to 4% to be paid into the City’s General Fund.

Jeremy Coltharp filed documents on behalf of patient members throughout Long Beach, and indicated that patients seeking relief from debilitating illness are concerned with ensuring that they are able to receive medical marijuana in safe and secure locations. According to LBReport, Coltharp is “a managing member in a LB collective in Natural Solutions.”

“It’s important that the City of Long Beach provides the leadership needed to ensure the health and safety of all its citizens, both medical marijuana patients and the community as a whole,” stated Coltharp. 

“Regulation of medical marijuana distribution will ensure that dispensaries have clear expectations to which they must adhere, and will also ensure that sick patients are are not forced to turn to back alley drug dealers.”

In July, the Long Beach City Council voted to outlaw medical marijuana, rather than regulate its distribution in the City, in violation of recent binding court rulings that declared total bans to be illegal under California law. Those key court decisions follow the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, a landmark voter initiative by which voters authorized the use and distribution of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The initiative was passed by an overwhelming majority of Long Beach voters, and served as an example to seventeen other states and the District of Columbia that have since passed similar medical marijuana laws. At least six other states are currently considering such laws.

Coltharp anticipates collecting signatures from 15% of registered voters in Long Beach in order to qualify for a special election. Approximately 33,500 signatures will be needed.

“We continue to look to our City leaders to find the best way to ensure public safety.” said Coltharp, “I’m confident that our City Council will find a way to do that without endangering the quality of life of so many people in need.”

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