LOS ANGELES—The ban on the cultivation, manufacture, processing, testing, transportation and retail sale of medical and non-medical marijuana in unincorporated areas was extended on Tuesday, February 7 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The ban will stay until a comprehensive regulatory framework can be put in place.
The LA County Board of Supervisors want the county’s lawyers to work with the district attorney to shut down 70 dispensaries illegally operating in unincorporated areas. Passed by voters in November 2016, Proposition 64 made it legal for individuals to use and grow cannabis for personal use. Ordinances and statutes governing the sale and subsequent taxation of recreational marijuana will not go into effect until January 1, 2018.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has her doubts about implementing Proposition 64 and said to her colleagues, “I don’t know whether the state’s really going to get it together by Jan. 1. Everybody’s saying no.”
“This is a pioneering time for California and for the county,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “We have an opportunity to take advantage of recent experiences in Oregon, Washington and Colorado and adopt a regulatory system that will ensure the well-being of county residents as well as contribute to the growing expertise in dealing with the legalization of cannabis.”
The county is trying to figure out a way to challenge marijuana businesses as most of them are conducted using cash which makes dispensaries a target for potentially violent robberies.
The motion calls for the County to engage key stakeholders — community, business, public health experts, advocates — to:
- Obtain feedback on regulations and best practices
- Work with local cities to promote uniformity of regulations,
- Potentially develop an ordinance and ballot measure to tax commercial cannabis to cover costs incurred in regulating the new industry
- Initiate a robust data collection effort on cannabis use
Under state law, the county could permanently ban cannabis, but the board reached a consensus that thoughtful regulation would be best.
As part of a year-long process of creating regulations across more than a dozen county departments, educational campaigns for consumers, children and parents are planned through the community outreach.
A report back on enforcement should be submitted in 30 days and updates on regulations will be provided on quarterly basis.
“We need to build an entirely new framework, and we need to do it right,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “That means taking into account the unique situations of all of our cities and unincorporated areas, prioritizing public health and safety, and balancing the interests of an emerging industry with the interests of our communities.”
Written By Arjun Balasundaram and Casey Jacobs