On January 1, 2018, the sale of recreational marijuana is scheduled to become legal in the state of California and Los Angeles is expected to become the biggest city in the country with legal marijuana. The preliminary regulations that were voted into law on Wednesday passed with a 12-0 vote. Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to officially sign the rules into law, keeping in mind that the regulations are a work in progress that will be refined over time.
A Model City
According to the Huffington Post, City Council President Herb Wesson expects LA to be a model for other cities across the country who may be expecting to end prohibition soon. “We are LA. We are a big city. We do big stuff, that’s who we are, that’s how we roll,” Wesson said. “And there are cities throughout this country that are looking at us today.”
The Rules and Regulations for Los Angeles
The complex set of regulations include rules about selling and growing marijuana and zoning. Marijuana retailers must be at least 750 feet away from schools, libraries and parks while growers and manufacturers must be at least 600 feet away from these public domains. Marijuana related businesses will be zoned to more industrial areas rather than being allowed to be located in heavily trafficked locations. There will be a limited number of retailers and marijuana related businesses and retailers will need to adhere to strict security measures including ways for ensuring that customers are over 21 and the implementation of security cameras. Once the regulations have been fully integrated and business is up and running, local and state government are expected to collect up to a billion a year in tax revenue.
“The Largest City in the Largest State in the Country”
Tom Angell, chairman of the drug policy reform group Marijuana Majority said “marijuana is about to become legally available and taxed in the largest city in the largest state in the country. That’s a major benchmark, and it shows how far this movement for cannabis policy change has come from just a few short years ago when almost no one thought legalization was a realistic possibility.”
Californians voted recreational marijuana into law last November and there have been many challenges for lawmakers to overcome in the process of legalizing the plant. California was the first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and the industry would need to go through some evaluation before integrating a recreational marijuana industry in the state. Many were concerned that regulations would not be ready in time to start marijuana sales on January 1st. However, all appears to be on schedule now with forward progress eminent.
Another major obstacle to marijuana in 2017 has come from Attorney General Jeff Sessions who has been passionately and loudly opposed to the plant for many years. Nonetheless, with the majority of Americans being in favor of legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana, progress has still managed to take place. California is now 1 of 8 states who have elected to end prohibition with many other states making plans to legalize through legislature in the near future. LA is looking to be the model for how a big city handles the legal marijuana industry.