In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization for recreational use for people aged 21 and over. The proposition also imposed a 15% sales tax, cultivation taxes, and will require a state licensing system, however it allows for local regulation and taxation beginning no sooner than January 1, 2018. In an effort to be prepared for the January 2018 target date, the Los Angeles City Council has developed a draft ordinance and zoning regulations to govern all aspects of commercial marijuana production (cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, retail, etc.). City Council held a series of meetings under the Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations, and Neighborhoods Committee to develop these draft policies while learning from representatives in Colorado and Washington State about how they implemented marijuana legalization.

In preparation for the draft policies, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning released a map of the cultivation and manufacturing eligible zones. The new draft zoning regulations would permit marijuana dispensaries to exist in areas zoned as commercial and industrial, as long as they are at least 800 feet away from other dispensaries, schools, parks, libraries, and other sensitive areas such as drug treatment centers. The draft ordinance also contains rules about local hiring, prohibition of consumption on-site, and the requirement of security surveillance and audits among other regulations.

As of June 7, 2017, City Council draft policies are in a 60 day public comment period. Community Health Councils and its partners are in the process of reviewing the policies and developing comments to ensure that communities such as South Los Angeles are not overburdened and concentrated with marijuana commercialization, that marketing to youth and children is prohibited and strictly enforced, and that business opportunities are made available to all interested Angelenos.  If you have any recommendations or feedback on the draft policies, please let us know in the comments section.