With nearly 80 percent approval, residents in the City of Los Angeles voted massively in favor of Proposition M; a new ordinance that not only regulates cannabis, but also replaces the city’s previous attempt at regulation, Proposition D. The new city-regs give the Los Angeles Mayor and City Council total oversight of commercial cannabis. While Prop. D created a confusing legal landscape in LA, Prop. M aims to rectify the previous ordinance—hopefully the second time’s the charm. Here’s what you need to know about Los Angeles’ new legal terrain.
The City of Los Angeles has a new legislative body:
This new division is called the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR), and their roll is to license and regulate legal cannabis businesses in the area. The DCR is also responsible for administering the Rules and Regulations adopted by the Council for licensed commercial cannabis businesses within the City of Los Angeles. The DCR administers the business application process in conjunction with the Cannabis Regulation Commission, makes determinations related to non-retail cannabis licensing, administers and coordinates the audit and inspection processes for licensed cannabis-related businesses, and enforcing regulatory compliance of licensed businesses engaged in commercial cannabis activity.
The DCR is lead by a woman:
Cat Parker is the woman Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed as Executive Director of the DCR. Prior to joining the City of Los Angeles, Packer served as California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, where she worked to ensure the successful and equitable implementation of various cannabis policy reforms.
Who is the Cannabis Regulation Commission?:
The DCR also makes decisions with the Cannabis Regulation Commission (CRC), a regulatory body that consists of: Robert Ahn, Victor Narro, Philip D. Mercado, Rita Villa and Misty Wilks. The DCR and the CRC will host public hearings in regards to their roll in the city and compliance in the City of Los Angeles.
If you live in LA, stay up to date with the DCR
Their website has a wealth of information. They have a list of all the current licensed dispensaries—there are 98 of them, to be exact. They have a checklist of tips explaining how you can tell if a dispensary is legal or not (for instance, a temporary approval or license must be prominently displayed at the business premises, and it is appropriate as patient or customer to ask to see it!). They will also continue to update the list of legal dispensaries in the area and post when they will host public hearings. Here is the DCR’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Stay safe as a consumer and know what to look out for:
There are things you can do as a consumer of cannabis to not only help the new legal market move along, but also keep yourself out of trouble with the law (we’re officially in raid season!).
· The first thing to look for, like we stated above, is a prominent display of temporary approval or license.
· The second is a prominent display of neighborhood liaison. Business must identify and assign an employee as the official “neighborhood liaison” to receive and address complaints 24-hours a day. The name, contact number and email address of the neighborhood liaison must be prominently displayed at the business premises in a manner that makes it readable from the exterior of the business.
· In terms of the hours of operation: retailers may only sell and deliver cannabis goods between the hours of 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time and 10:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
· A retailer can’t sell more than the following amounts to a single adult-use cannabis customer in a single day:
o 28.5 grams of non-concentrated cannabis
o 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, including concentrated cannabis contained in cannabis products
o 6 immature cannabis plants
· A retailer cannot sell more than the following amounts to a single medicinal cannabis patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver purchasing medicinal cannabis on behalf of the patient, in a single day:
o 8 ounces of medicinal cannabis
o 12 immature cannabis plants
· A medicinal cannabis customer may purchase an amount of medicinal cannabis consistent with the patient's needs as recommended and evidenced by a valid physician’s recommendation.
· The following activities are prohibited at the business premises of a legal cannabis business:
- The Sale of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Products
- The Consumption of Cannabis and Alcohol
- The Issuance of Physician Recommendations or Approvals
- Free Samples
The DCR has begun accepting applications for Proposition M priority processing:
If you’re trying to become a legal cannabis business in LA, get your applications in now. If you do, your application will have priority. The last day to get the application in to the city for priority consideration is March 4, 2018. You can download the application form here.
The DCR will process applications for commercial cannabis activity in 3 phases:
In order to transition current operators to a regulated market, the DCR will issue temporary approval licenses to qualified applicants. Temporary approvals will give qualified applicants “local authorization,” allowing qualified applicants to continue to operate with limited-immunity until the applicant receives final approval or denial of a license, and has exhausted all administrative appeals. For more information about DCR’s application and licensing process please review Los Angeles’ Cannabis Ordinances.
- DCR will accept and process applications for “Proposition M Priority Processing” as described in Section 104.07 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. Priority processing will start at the discretion of DCR and end 60 days after it begins.
- DCR will process applications for applicants seeking to engage in Testing.
· DCR will accept and process applications for “Non-Retailer Commercial Cannabis Activity Prior to January 1, 2016 Processing” as described in Section 104.08 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. “Non-Retail Commercial Cannabis Activity Prior to January 1, 2016 Processing” will start at the discretion of DCR and end on April 1, 2018.
· DCR will accept and process applications for Commercial Cannabis Activity for the general public