First Look at the Los Angeles Cannabis Commission Approved by City Council

First Look at the Los Angeles Cannabis Commission Approved by City Council

Copyright: klotz / 123RF Stock Photo

While Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti named Cat Packer, a former policy coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance, as the Department of Cannabis Regulation’s executive director on Aug. 9, 2017, the Los Angeles City Council approved Garcetti’s selection of Packer at its meeting on Aug. 16, as well as approving five members for the Los Angeles Cannabis Commission.

“In confirming [Packer], I think we show the rest of the world what the values are for us on this council and for the people of the city of Los Angeles,” said Council President Herb Wesson during the meeting. “She is by supported by the industry. She is also supported by the community. She will be the first person selected to do this job that actually understands the industry and she will be the first person of color.”

Following his praise of Packer, Wesson lauded all five members of the Los Angeles Cannabis Commission.

“This is a first for us. We, and Los Angeles, make history today. One thing about these commissioners is that they are unbelievably intelligent,” Wesson said. “They also possess common sense. Common sense blended with intelligence is exactly what we’re going to need going forward as we negotiate our way through a very challenging business and industry.”

The five members of the Los Angeles Cannabis Commission are as follows:

  • Robert Ahn, an attorney, former member of the Planning Commission and resident of Council District 4;
  • Philip Mercardo, chief surgeon at Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Park Medical Center and resident of Council District 4;
  • Victor Narro, an attorney, project director of the UCLA Labor Center and resident of Council District 4;
  • Misty Wilks, an attorney at Financial Solutions Law and resident of Council District 10; and
  • Rita Villa, an accountant in Studio City, neighborhood council member and resident of Council District 2.

“You have my commitment that I will do all that I can in my effort and draw upon all of my perspectives and experiences over my career as an attorney, as a business person and as a longtime community activist to make sure that we balance all the competing interests to come up with a fair and equitable system for all of Angelenos,” Ahn said during the meeting.

The Los Angeles Cannabis Commission, along with the Department of Cannabis Regulation, will be responsible for issuing cannabis business permits.

In regards to the implementation of recreational cannabis in Los Angeles, the city has already released a cannabis dispensary map, draft commercial cannabis regulations and a proposed zoning ordinance. A 60-day public comment period commenced on June 8. Once this period ends, the Los Angeles City Council can take action on the draft regulations.

Caroline Cahill is the Managing Editor of MJINews. She earned her BA in Communications from College of Charleston and her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has previously worked in higher education, development and radio. You can follow her on Twitter @CtheresaC.

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