The end of 2017 is fast approaching and lawmakers across California have been scrambling to prepare for recreational weed on January 1. There have been major roadblocks and concerns across the state, however, on Wednesday, California’s biggest city took its biggest steps in unveiling a reasonable set of bylaws to usher the city into its new era. The Los Angeles marijuana regulations have officially been revealed, but what will they mean for cannabis in the city?
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the proposed set of regulations, 12 to 0, after months of meetings regarding the sale, growth, and distribution of recreational cannabis ahead of the January 1 deadline. The set of provisions will now go to the mayor for final approval. Earlier this year we saw regulations released by the state of California but this is the first time one of it’s largest cities has released a set of rules.
Council President Herb Wesson believes LA can provide a template for other cities across the country clamoring for their own set of guidelines.
“We are LA. We are a big city. We do big stuff, that’s who we are, that’s how we roll. And there are cities throughout this country that are looking at us today,” Wesson said.
As expected, the regulations have faced some backlash on both sides of the table. Cannabis industry groups have taken issue with some of the stricter areas of the regulations, whilst neighborhood groups have complained that the proposed regulations aren’t strict enough.
But what do these regulations actually entail? Let’s take a closer look at some of the key points.
These new set of regulations state that pot shops must operate at least 700 feet away from “sensitive sites”, such as schools. Cannabis growers and manufacturers must also take these “sensitive sites” into consideration, remaining 600 feet away.
The regulations also contain rules on how many marijuana businesses will be allowed to operate within Los Angeles. Currently, the numbers are as follows; no more than 390 pot shops, 336 growers and 520 manufacturers. However, some have pointed out that the zoning laws will render this particular regulation useless as marijuana businesses will automatically be regulated in numbers because of the areas they will be allowed to operate in.
The City Council will also be introducing a “social equity” program geared towards helping people convicted of low-level weed-related crimes and residents in low-income areas open their own cannabis-related businesses.
The Los Angeles marijuana regulations also contain guidelines on how marijuana businesses can expect to be inspected, as well as how growers and manufacturers can go about securing provisional licenses.
Interestingly, the city’s regulations prohibit cannabis consumption within pot shops, despite state law allowing it.
These regulations are by no means set in stone. The city council intends to further debate and refine these guidelines as the city becomes more familiar with its new status.
Most cannabis businesses are largely on board with the Los Angeles marijuana regulations. Though not completely comprehensive, the rules will give the city a clearer path to follow ahead of recreational marijuana on January 1.