LA County ban on commercial cannabis still stands

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LOS ANGELES – A ban on commercial cannabis remains in place in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Quartz Hill, Littlerock and Lake Los Angeles. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday opted not to take any action on the issue, even as new legal dispensaries open with state and local licenses in other parts of the county.The county’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs presented three options to the Board of Supervisors for moving forward:

— allow and regulate all types of medical and recreational commercial cannabis activity;

— limit the types of cannabis businesses that can open, for example, only allow medical dispensaries; or

— keep the ban in place.

Based on months of discussions with drug policy experts, academic researchers, public health professionals, local elected officials and residents, the Office of Cannabis Management earlier presented the board with 64 recommendations and a tax revenue analysis. The DCBA report focused on the steps required to implement any particular policy, including detailed maps of where businesses could be located.

A key takeaway of the report is that if the board chooses to lift the ban, there’s a lot more work to be done — setting up a commission as well as an advisory review board, creating a health assessment, amending at least five different county ordinances and setting up a public workshop around access to cannabis opportunities. All of which would likely take months, if not years.

And the board is not in a hurry.

“The Board of Supervisors has decided not to rush this issue and, by taking no action on the report today, has allowed the ban on commercial cannabis in the unincorporated areas to stay in place,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “However, this ban does not affect residents’ ability to use cannabis recreationally or grow plants on their property for personal use as guaranteed under Proposition 64.”

More than 100 people signed up to speak on the issue during the board’s meeting and a majority of them pressed the county to move toward regulation, arguing that the ban allowed a black market to flourish, contrary to the aim of statewide legalization.

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