6 Notable Cannabis Laws Proposed in L.A.

By Kyle Swartz

June 9, 2017

With the passing of legal pot in California last year, Los Angeles is poised to become the state’s largest single cannabis market. In response, the L.A. City Council has spent the last year drafting marijuana regulations to govern the legal use of the drug within city limits.

Council members released a draft of their regulations last week. While not official yet, these provide a glimpse into how a city like L.A. might oversee legal pot. Overall the regulations mirror California’s regulations, but with some noticeable differences and nuisances. Below are six proposed cannabis laws in L.A. worth noting.

1) It Allows For Delivery Services

Get ready for companies that are the Drizly for pot. The L.A. regulations do not require cannabis delivery services to have an onsite retail location to operate, meaning websites and apps are allowed for cannabis delivery. But the proposed laws do prevent delivery companies from doing business outside of the city without prior approval from L.A. officials.

Overall the issue has been one of contentious debate for the City Council. How and whether it ends up in the final regulations is worth watching.

2) Grow Operations Remain Indoors

Looks like L.A. would prefer its existing grow laws: indoor warehouses only. Outdoor grow operations did not receive the okay, nor did ones that are a mix of the two styles. Cannabis warehousing may quickly become a premium.

3) Public Employees Are Barred From Business

Sorry, state and city employees, but L.A. is on track to ban you from holding cannabis businesses. There would obviously be conflict of interest with a city-run cannabis market counting city staff among its business leaders. No real surprises here, just a bummer for that Registrar of Voter who had an eye on a pot shop as her side hustle.

4) No Limit On The Amount Of Retail Shops

There was a question as to whether L.A. would limit the number of recreational cannabis shops. The answer appears to be: no.

Well, sort of.

While there is no hard number that retail shops cannot exceed, they are tied to the amount of social equity program certificates. These certificates are “aimed at promoting equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry in order to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities and to address the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs in those communities.”

It’s a logical idea, of course: linking the growth of the cannabis industry with the growth of programs that keep it fair and safe. One thing to note, though, is that the program which would hand out these social equity program certificates has yet to be established. And in a city not exactly known for the speed of its government, how large the L.A. pot market can actually grow is a legitimate question.

5) Existing Retail Shops Receive Favored Treatment

About 135 dispensaries that already operate in Los Angeles would get first dibs on the “compliance certificates.” Naturally, these are the certificates that allow a retail shop to operate in compliance with city laws.

Not until all these shops have received due consideration will the city then allow members of the public to apply for certificates. And considering the yet-established program for granting social equity program certificates, it’s easy to see a long wait ahead for members of the public looking to get in on L.A. pot.

6) Volatile Chemicals

The regulations ban “metals, butane, propane, or other flammable solvent or inflammable product” from cannabis manufacturing. These “volatile” methods are sometimes used by producers when making cannabis concentrate for the use of vapor, dabs, or some kinds of edibles.

The law is quite strict for those who are caught using these methods: “Any owner, business entity, or individual convicted for illegal volatile cannabis manufacturing will be banned from Commercial Cannabis Activity within the City of Los Angeles for a period of 10 years from the date of conviction.”

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