L.A. Election: 3 Medical Marijuana Measures, a Long Way to a Solution

On May 21 voters in Los Angeles will have the opportunity to vote for the city's next mayor. But that is not all. Those few Angelenos who venture to the polls or send in their ballots will also weigh in on three competing ballot measures all dealing with medical marijuana. Two qualified for the ballot via the initiative process, one was put on the ballot by the City Council.

As with all other types of ballot measures, those supporting the various measures will financially benefit from their passage. Indeed, the measures have divided the medical marijuana community, to the extent that there was such a community.

(To understand the specifics of these measures, Ballot Brief's Ben Gottlieb has done some great in-depth reporting here.)

It is possible that none of the measures will garner the 50 percent of the vote necessary to become law. In that event it seems likely that the next election will bring one or more new proposals concerning the sale of medical marijuana.

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In any case, the May election will not be the end of the story. The city is facing dozens of lawsuits, suits which are likely to continue. All of this wrangling occurs against the backdrop of a stark contrast between state and federal laws. While in certain circumstances, California law allows people to use marijuana for medicinal use, the federal government prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana in all cases. We can count of continued problems until the conflict between federal and state law is resolved.

About the Author

Jessica Levinson is an Associate Clinical Professor at Loyola Law School. She focuses on the intersection of law and government.
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