In the span of two days, the City of Los Angeles has taken three important steps toward regulating its legal cannabis market—issuing a cannabis dispensary map, draft commercial cannabis regulations and a proposed zoning ordinance.
On June 7, 2017, Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin announced that his office had released an online map that shows cannabis dispensaries operating in the city of Los Angeles that have current Business Tax Registration Certificates, dispensaries that formerly held BTRCs and dispensaries that have been subject to actions by the L.A. City Attorney’s Office.
In addition to the dispensary map going live, Galperin also sent a letter of regulatory recommendations to the Los Angeles Mayor, City Council and City Attorney. In his letter, Galperin suggested that the city aid cannabis industry banking initiatives; share information among financial institutions and cannabis regulators; and institute more effective industry controls, such as using cash-counting devices at on-site repositories, requiring businesses to use security cameras and regulating delivery services, among others.
On June 8, the Los Angeles City Council released a draft of the “Proposed Requirements for Commercial Cannabis Activity in the City of Los Angeles,” initiating a 60-day public comment period. Once the public comment period ends, the Los Angeles City Council can take further action on the draft.
The draft regulations cover the application requirements as well as the rules for retail, delivery, cultivation, manufacturing, transporting, distributing, testing, advertising, records retention, track-and-trace, security, occupational safety, inspections and enforcement.
According to the draft regulations, “The Department will issue Certificates of Compliance in four phases: (1) Proposition M Priority eligible applicants, (2) Non-Retail Registry eligible applicants, (3) a restricted phase in which the number of Certificates of Compliance issued to General Public applicants may not exceed the number of Certificates of Compliance issued to Social Equity Program applicants, and (4) an unrestricted phase that commences after the Social Equity Program has been fully funded and implemented as determined by the City Council.”
The proposed zoning ordinance outlines the specific zoning requirements for each of the city’s districts.
The zoning ordinance indicates that dispensary, retail and microbusiness commercial cannabis activity must take place more than 800 feet away from a school, public library, public park, alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility, and the nearest licensed commercial cannabis business. The only exceptions to the 800-foot buffer zone would be dispensary, retail and microbusiness commercial cannabis activity that is limited to off-site sales via delivery.
The ordinance also identifies the district-specific zones where cultivation, manufacturing, transporting, distributing and testing activity will be permitted.
There are opportunities for grandfathering of existing Proposition D compliant medical cannabis businesses, but they are limited and such opportunities must be approved by Los Angeles’ Cannabis Commission.