Here we go again. Yet another tale of the legal challenges that frequently follow the passage of ballot initiatives in California.
In a unanimous decision last week, the California Supreme Court ruled that cities and counties can prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries.. The state's highest court found that two state laws, the Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Marijuana Program, do not preempt the ability of localities to use zoning laws to ban pot shops. The Compassionate Use Act was enacted via the ballot initiative process in 1996. The Medical Marijuana Program is a companion piece of legislation passed by the legislature in 2003.
The court ruled that the California Constitution gives localities so-called "police powers" under which they can legislate for the health, safety, and welfare of their jurisdictions. The court found that under those powers, localities have the authority to prohibit pot shops because the state statutes did not explicitly or implicitly prevent localities from imposing those prohibitions.
If the instead Compassionate Use Act had included a specific statement providing that localities cannot use their police powers to ban marijuana dispensaries then the court's decision likely would have come out the other way. But, of course, the initiative did not include such language. Any such language would have been a gift to opponents of the initiative. Thus the court was able to read the state laws narrowly.
And by this point, the only way to really guarantee registration, is to do it online before midnight; it's handled by the California Secretary of State's office at this webpage. The other option is more cumbersome: fill out a paper form and hand deliver to L.A. County's Norwalk office by close of business.
Besides four propositions, including an advisory measure about election money, the May 21 election is the final say for a number of political offices not decided during the March 5 Primary election. KCET's Ballot Brief has been tracking (and now mapping) the direct donations to candidates in these races, all which can be seen here.
Backers of an initiative to impose a 9.5 percent tax on oil and natural gas extracted in California, primarily to increase funding for education, received permission last week from Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin gathering signatures.
During its first 10 years, 60 percent of the revenues generated by what is dubbed as the California Modernization and Economic Development Act would be allocated to education -- split equally between kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education.
Another 22 percent would go to clean energy projects and research, 15 percent to counties for infrastructure and public health and safety services, and 3 percent to state parks.
Who writes the law? Many of us assume that legislators or their staffers perform this task. But that answer may be only partially complete.
In California, a bill's "sponsor" is listed in legislative analyses. This purportedly gives the public important information about the identity of those supporting measures which may become law.
Is candidate centered campaign fundraising a thing of the past?
Greetings, and welcome to the Super PAC era. Thanks in part to the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United, we now have new entities called "Super PACs," which are organizations that can raise and spend unlimited political funds.
There are an estimated 1,700-1,800 medical marijuana dispensaries currently operating in Los Angeles. However, if the city of Los Angeles and the City Council had their way, they'd like to limit that number to 135.
Therein lies the crux of the medical marijuana debate being presented to voters on the May 21 ballot.
Should the remaining 1,600 or so medical marijuana shops be forced to close? Or should we allow these storefronts to remain open? Are they a nuisance to our neighborhoods or are they providing a legal and necessary service?
Ordinance F seeks to prevent any and all regulation on the number of medical pot shops allowed to operate in the city, so long as they meet a series of requirements. Those stipulations range from mandatory background checks to frequent testing of marijuana products sold to patients for pesticides and toxins.