Council committee adjusts marijuana regulations

LOS ANGELES — A City Council committee made some final adjustments Dec. 4 to a set of laws for the recreational marijuana industry that outlines who would be able to sell the drug, along with where, when and how it could be sold, grown and distributed.

The items approved by the Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee outline a comprehensive set of laws in Los Angeles for recreational use and sale in California starting Jan. 1. The full City Council was scheduled to vote on the package of cannabis laws Dec. 6.

“You have opportunities in life to be part of history but you don’t have a lot of opportunities to make history, and that’s what we are doing here,” said City Council President Herb Wesson, who chairs the committee.

The rules approved by the panel would create limitations on how many cannabis businesses could be located in each neighborhood, similar to the regulations imposed on the alcohol industry, and also create requirements on how far cannabis businesses must be located from “sensitive sites,” including schools, public parks and other cannabis retailers.

The rules also include a procedure for provisional licenses for growers and manufacturers, and would create a “social equity” program aimed at helping people convicted of some low-level marijuana-related crimes and residents in some low-income communities impacted by cannabis arrests to open a cannabis-related business.

The rules would ban people convicted of some crimes, including violent felonies or selling marijuana, tobacco or alcohol to minors, from receiving a license for a certain amount of time. For violent felons, the limit would be 10 years.

California voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana last November, effective Jan. 1, 2018. In March, Los Angeles voters approved Measure M, which sets up regulatory measures for the cannabis industry, which could generate more than $100 million annually in new tax revenue for a city with a budget that topped $9 billion last fiscal year.

On-site consumption would be allowed by state law starting in 2018, if the local city allows it. Wesson said previously that concerns over a ban in a draft ordinance of on-site consumption would be addressed later as the city studies the issue.


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