With 3.97 million people living in the city of Los Angeles and 10.13 million people in Los Angeles County, the city just became the largest city in America to officially regulate recreational cannabis. The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 on Wednesday in favor of establishing recreational cannabis rules, “adding Article 4 to Chapter X of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) to regulate commercial cannabis activities.”
City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. was pleased with the outcome. “We are L.A. 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 told NBC Los Angeles.
Per the new rules, 700-foot buffers will apply for retail shops around schools, public parks and libraries. For cultivators and manufacturers, 600-foot buffers would apply around the same types of neighboring businesses.
Retail shops can say open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, but the city will reserve the power to alter the hours of operation in certain sites.
The city will also give licensing priority to applicants that have been convicted of minor cannabis offenses and those who are from disadvantaged or low-income areas. The social equity program was praised by Councilman Curren Price. “It’s true that this measure is not going to undo the harms that have been inflicted in the past. However, I think it will provide a framework for a more equitable and honest approach to this industry as it rolls out,” Price said.
Los Angeles’ Measure M, passed last March, will replace Measure D, which originally limited dispensaries to 135.
Recreational cannabis sales begin on January 1, 2018 in California, but the majority of the state’s cities are struggling to establish regulations in time. Los Angeles’ success is a good sign that California is making progress on recreational cannabis regulation.