Law News

County Hosts Unprecedented Cannabis Regulator Roundtable

The County of Los Angeles Office of Cannabis Management, operated within the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, recently hosted the first L.A. County Cannabis Regulators Roundtable at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.

This first-of-its-kind roundtable brought together more than 60 participants from cities across Southern California, LA County departments, and state agencies to discuss cross-jurisdictional issues and to share regulatory ideas as cannabis legalization rolls out across the state.

Lori Ajax, chief of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, kicked off the event with a panel of experts from the state’s departments of Public Health, Fish & Wildlife,Tax & Fee Administration, and Food & Agriculture.

“This was a great opportunity to sit down and hear directly from local Southern California city and county leaders who are working through the process of Prop. 64 implementation,” Ajax said. “Our state agencies are key partners in this work and I look forward to continuing the conversation with local city and county regulators.”

In addition to the state panel, roundtable attendees also heard updates from the county Department of Public Health on their teen cannabis use prevention campaign, the county Office of Cannabis Management on unlicensed business closure, and the county Public Defender on resentencing and expungement efforts.

“We wanted to host this roundtable because it is important to have a local forum for cannabis regulators to ask questions, share ideas, and work together towards sensible solutions,” said Joseph M. Nicchitta, Interim Director of the county Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.

From networking to lively Q&A sessions, attendees were able to share lessons learned and hear more about how neighboring cities are working on this issue.

“Since the passage of Prop. 64, we’ve all encountered both challenges and opportunities that come with a regulatory rollout. And while our authority might stop at our own city lines, cannabis is an issue that crosses boundaries and truly requires a collaborative approach,” commented Cat Packer, the Executive Director and General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation.

California now joins eight other states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. The key provisions of Prop. 64 have made local regulation of cannabis voluntary.

“I represent the cities of Bell and Carson that have chosen to permit limited commercial cannabis operations, and I also represent cities that have established a local ban,” said Christopher Neumeyer, partner at Aleshire & Wynder, LLP.

“But whether a jurisdiction is banning or permitting cannabis, we as regulators have been confronted with many of the same issues,” he said. “This event encouraged collaboration and an open exchange of ideas. I look forward to attending future roundtables.”

Since 1976, the county Department of Consumer and Business Affairs has served consumers, businesses, and communities through education, advocacy, and complaint resolution. The department works every day to educate consumers and small business owners about their rights and responsibilities, mediate disputes, investigate consumer fraud complaints, and enforce Los Angeles County’s minimum wage ordinance.

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