On June 6, 2017, a Los Angeles County cannabis ban was extended after a unanimous vote by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The regulations call for a ban on commercial cannabis businesses in unincorporated areas and also include new rules for personal cultivation.
According to NBC4, the ordinance is an extension of a previous ban dating back to 2010, though the rules only applied to medical marijuana businesses during the first run. Under the new policy, the cultivation, manufacture, testing and distribution of medical and recreational marijuana is prohibited for businesses in unincorporated areas, but not prohibited for personal use.
Under the new restrictions, citizens are permitted to grow up to six plants for personal use; single-family homeowners can plant marijuana indoors or outside, making sure that outdoor plants cannot be seen by the public, but those who live in apartments are limited to growing indoors.
The board voted yes on the Los Angeles County cannabis ban as it needed more time to regulate cannabis effectively.
“We are trying to create rational, responsible, and accountable cannabis commerce,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, as reported by the Los Angeles Business Journal. “This is not a gold rush for businesses. It is the people of California calling for smart, responsible regulation of marijuana, and those who operate illegally are in direct opposition to this call for accountability, transparency, and responsibility.”
While both advocates and opponents of the ban understand this is a temporary measure, their concerns are still being voiced. Advocates of the ban are pressing the board to consider regulating the drug in a way that would limit its accessibility to adolescents. They are asking that packaging be unappealing to children and that illegal dispensaries be closed.
Opponents of the ban, on the other hand, are concerned for the needs of medical marijuana patients who are unable to cultivate their own plants. Workers in the county are also concerned that new enforcement laws could put them in situations where they have to confront cultivators who may feel pressured to arm themselves in defense of their crops.
According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Al Naipo, a spokesman for Ridley-Thomas, mentioned that there is no specific deadline for when the ban’s regulations will be implemented, though state issued licenses for marijuana businesses will be available in January 2018.