A Short History of Marijuana in LA

In California, voters chose to decriminalize medical marijuana back in 1996. It was, in fact, the first state to do so. Following this vote, numerous dispensaries, manufacturers, and marijuana cultivators operated in Los Angeles under this rather vague law. Local officials didn’t really do anything to regulate these operators.

In 2007, things changed when all new marijuana enterprises were blocked by an ordinance passed by the LA city council. That was a major mess, legally speaking. Even as marijuana shops grew in number, the city faced various lawsuits against the ordinance.

This led to proposition D in 2013. This particular measure provided limited immunity to just 135 medical marijuana dispensaries. It’s still a vague measure, because there were no licensing guidelines at all.

In 2016, the state of California passed the initiative that legalized recreational marijuana for the whole state, though local areas did have a say in the matter. In 2017, the city of Los Angeles overwhelmingly passed Measure M, which set taxes for both medical and recreational marijuana sales. Now there will be tougher penalties for unlicensed marijuana shops, though there will be no jail time. However, illegal marijuana business may be cut off from utility services.

Take note that recreational marijuana sales will be regulated as well. Recreational marijuana will only be legally available in 2018, however. That’s when you only need an ID to enjoy marijuana even if you’re perfectly healthy. You may even be able to enjoy all those cannabis-infused meals you’ve been meaning to try out.

Still, at least today, there are no legal or practical reasons that can keep you from using medical marijuana. It has been legal in LA for so many years, and the local authorities don’t really arrest people for smoking marijuana at home. There’s no legal risk for you at all if you have a valid medical marijuana card.

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