May 8, 2019
From the Desk of Executive Director Cat Packer
As the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR), I want to thank you for your interest in, and engagement with, the City’s cannabis related policies and programs and our administration of the Rules and Regulations adopted by the City Council for licensed commercial cannabis businesses within the City of Los Angeles.
Given the nascent but rapid evolution of our local cannabis policies, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on DCR’s efforts over the past year. This department has built an entirely new government agency responsible for licensing what had been a decades-old unregulated enterprise -- and we’ve staffed that agency from the ground up. Almost 11 months after California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and just months before adult-use licensing and sales began, DCR started as a department of one. Today, our team is now comprised of 20 diverse and eager staff members who work tirelessly to meet the expectations of this community, our elected officials, and our mission.
Furthermore, we’ve developed and implemented licensing procedures that are constantly evolving at all levels of government -- federal, state, and local. In fact during the last fiscal year, the State of California went through three separate emergency rulemaking processes; and DCR was a critical part of the conversation at each revision, ensuring that there was symmetry between our two interdependent programs.
We’ve both launched and made significant progress in the implementation of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Priority Processing, whereby DCR has processed applications from over 800 cannabis businesses that are seeking more than 2000 licenses. DCR has now issued hundreds of temporary licenses to approximately 250 of these businesses. And with last week’s Council vote, we are actively and enthusiastically preparing the launch of Phase 3, which will bring countless more businesses into the legal market. For context, our Phase 1 applicants alone represent approximately one third of the State of California’s adult-use retail market. Next fiscal year, with Phases 1, 2, and 3 underway, and with 80 percent of local jurisdictions still banning commercial retail cannabis activity, DCR expects that the City of L.A. will continue to emerge as a local and global leader in cannabis policy, licensing and regulation.
Although DCR does not have the authority to enforce against illegal cannabis establishments, the Department plays a key role in this Citywide effort. We’re working actively with the Mayor, City Council, and City Departments to meet the challenge of decreasing illegal cannabis activity within the City of Los Angeles. Some of our ongoing efforts include the establishment and maintenance of the Cannabis Complaint Portal, and coordinating implementation strategies and procedures related to utility disconnection at illegal cannabis establishments.
Engaging with all community members, from concerned neighbors to applicants and advocates, is one of the department’s top priorities. To date, we’ve conducted significant outreach at external events, facilitated numerous DCR workshops, redesigned our entire website to be more user friendly for current and future applicants, and continue to respond to thousands of public inquiries from stakeholders, community members, and the press.
In the coming months, the Department will also continue our work in regards to Phase 1 and Phase 2 Priority Processing. We are excited about launching the next phase of licensing, which shall include key components of the Social Equity Program including Eligibility Verification; Priority Processing; and the Business, Licensing and Compliance Assistance program. We are also working diligently on completing the enhanced social equity analysis to review the effects of gang injunctions on the failed war on drugs, specifically in the San Fernando Valley, Boyle Heights and Downtown Los Angeles areas, as recently instructed by City Council. Additionally, we will be hosting new workshops and meetings for ALL stakeholders, and continuing to grow our team so we can ensure that all the needs of our stakeholders are met to the best of our ability.
I look forward to our continued work together and encourage you to stay apprised of DCR’s operations by signing up for our email alerts and monitoring Cannabis Regulation Commission meetings.
Policy Updates and News
Los Angeles City Council Approves Two Cannabis Regulation Ordinances Amending Phase 3 Licensing Procedures Regulation Ordinances
On Tuesday, April 30, the City Council approved two ordinances (available here and here) to amend the City’s cannabis licensing and regulatory program. Most notably, the City Council adopted amendments to Phase 3 Type 10 and Type 9 licensing. Before starting any Phase 3 licensing, DCR must first accept applications for Social Equity Program eligibility verification or “Pre-Vetting” for 60 calendar days. Furthermore, technical assistance must be in place a minimum of 45 days before the first application window opens. After Pre-Vetting is complete and technical assistance is available, DCR will conduct an initial round of licensing for 100 Type 10 licenses on a first-come, first-served basis, followed by a second round of approximately 150 Type 10 licenses also on a first-come, first-served basis.The City Council also established an order of processing priority for Type 9 delivery licenses, with the first 60 license applications to be processed as part of delivery pilot program.
In addition to the approval of the two ordinances, the City Council issued DCR a number of instructions related to licensing, the Social Equity Program, community outreach and complaint management.
Of particular note, the City Council has instructed DCR to begin the pre-vetting process for Social Equity applicants no later than Tuesday, May 28th, 2019 and to begin the application for Round 1 of Phase 3 no later than Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019.
DCR will be conducting a number of workshops to facilitate education, outreach and technical assistance to prospective Social Equity Program applicants. Please RVSP here to attend the first of our upcoming stakeholder workshops:
SB-658 Cannabis: Licensing: Cannabis Retail Business Emblem: Track and Trace
On April 22, DCR Executive Director Cat Packer testified on behalf of SB-658 in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee held in Sacramento. Authored by Senator Bradford, this bill would establish a cannabis retail business emblem program and guarantee local jurisdictions access to the Track and Trace program. Click here to learn more about SB-658. To view the proceedings, click here. Ms. Packer’s comments begin at the 28:45 mark.
DCR in the News
Cat Packer organized against the drug war — and now she wants to help diversify cannabiz - By Sarah Davidson
Licensing and Activities Update
Licensing Compliance Inspections
Members of the DCR licensing team conducted unannounced inspections at 41 authorized retail locations on Saturday, April 20. On these and other regular compliance inspections, DCR ensures authorized retailers are adhering to all rules and regulations, including:
- On-site security personnel and digital surveillance camera systems
- Appropriate verification of customers’ ages
- Exclusive sale of pre-packaged cannabis goods
- Mandatory signage prohibiting loitering, trespassing, drinking, and cannabis consumption
||Photo: A member of the DCR licensing team presents his credentials at a retail location April 20, 2019. |
*** JOB ANNOUNCEMENT ***
Social Equity Program Manager
DCR is now accepting applications for a Social Equity Program Manager. The selected individual will work closely with the Executive Director, both Assistant Executive Directors, and Department Staff to implement the City’s Social Equity Program. The Program’s purpose is to enable those adversely affected by the war on drugs to have equitable access to the business ownership and employment opportunities within the newly legitimized local cannabis industry. Click here to see the complete job description and application instructions. This emergency appointment is an open, exempt position.
In order to be considered, resumes must include: A description of your relevant experience; description of your role in your current and former organization(s); at least one major professional accomplishment in which you played a key role; and any other relevant experiences or unique characteristics which could further qualify you for this position.
Please include a completed City Application with your submission. Upon submission of the application documents, applicants may be asked to complete a supplemental questionnaire. Only the most qualified candidates will be invited to the next phase of the selection process, which may include a written exercise and an interview. This position is open until a sufficient number of applications have been received. Please contact City Clerk Personnel at (213)978-1100 for any inquiries. Submit your application/resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cannabis Regulation Commission
The Cannabis Regulation Commission holds public hearings related to the issuance of Licenses to engage in commercial cannabis activity. In addition, the Commission may recommend to the City Council amendments to the City's Rules and Regulations. To learn more, please visit the Commission webpage.
The next regularly scheduled Cannabis Regulation Commission meeting is scheduled for May 23 at 2 p.m., location to be determined.
Helpful Resources & Information
DCR has established rules and regulations regarding licensed cannabis retailers. For example, did you know that the following activities are prohibited at the business premises of a legal cannabis business?
- The sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
- The consumption of cannabis and alcohol
- The issuance of physician recommendations or approvals
- The giving away of free samples
Know what to expect when patronizing a licensed retailer by familiarizing yourself with this information from the DCR website.
For information on What’s Legal and What’s Not, as well as health and prevention resources in your area, check out our Resources webpage.
Please remember that although California legalized cannabis in 2018 -- not every cannabis activity is lawful; and even when following the law, it's just as important to practice responsible behavior. For more information about what’s legal and how to stay responsible, please check out these videos, courtesy of our friends at LACityview35.
Find Authorized Retailers
To purchase cannabis products tested for harmful pesticides and toxins, be sure to patronize authorized retailers. Find your nearest authorized commercial cannabis retailer with the click of a button on our interactive map at cannabis.lacity.org/legal-businesses.
-To lodge a complaint about any cannabis activity in the City of Los Angeles - licensed or unlicensed, please use DCR’s complaint portal.
-To get the latest information from the Department of Cannabis Regulation,
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