On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved regulations for the recreational marijuana industry, setting the stage for LA to become the largest city in the US. UU With legal cannabis when the adult marijuana laws of California come into force on January 1, 2018..
The new rules, approved with a 12-0 vote, now go to Mayor Eric Garcetti for his signature, which is expected. City Council President Herb Wesson said regulations for nearly 4 million LA residents could become a model for other cities.
"We are LA We are a great city We do great things, that's what we are, that's how we shoot," Wesson said. "And there are cities all over the country that look at us today."
Complex regulations are considered a work in progress that will likely need refinement later, but for now, they provide the marijuana industry with some clarity before retailers open their doors next year.
Marijuana retail stores will only be allowed in commercial and industrial areas of the city specifically zoned, and will not be allowed within 750 feet of sites such as schools, public parks, and libraries. Producers and manufacturers of cannabis products will also be limited to specific industrial zones and will be required to locate at least 600 feet away from schools and similar sites.
The rules will limit the number of stores, producers and manufacturers that can obtain licenses in Los Angeles. Stores must establish strict security measures, including video surveillance and electronic verification for customers to be 21 years of age or older.
In an effort to address the negative consequences of the war on drugs, the city will grant priority processing of licenses and other assistance to people who apply for commercial marijuana licenses who have previously been convicted of low-intensity marijuana offenses. or come from low resources. "Marijuana is about to become legally available and taxed in the largest city in the nation's largest state," said Tom Angell, president of the Marijuana Majority drug policy reform group. "That is an important reference, and it shows how far this movement has come because of the change in cannabis policy a few years ago when almost nobody thought that legalization was a real possibility."
Angell predicted that more states will lift the 2018 bans, increasing pressure on the federal government "to finally modernize its obsolete approach to marijuana."
California became the first state to allow marijuana for medical purposes in 1996 and 20 years later state voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana. The state's legal marijuana industry already has a projected value of $ 7 billion, and once the new California regulatory framework is fully implemented, state and local governments could raise $ 1 billion annually in tax revenues.
Seven other states, as well as the District of Columbia, have now approved recreational marijuana (although the District continues to prohibit the sale of the plant). A total of 29 states, the District and the US territories. UU From Guam and Puerto Rico they legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but states have pushed their own cannabis laws under the guidance of the Obama administration, which urges federal prosecutors to refrain from attacking the state's legal marijuana operations. However, that policy could be reversed or altered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a vocal opponent of marijuana who suggested last month that the Justice Department is seeking to make changes in that area.
Earlier this year, Sessions appointed a working group to review the non-intervention approach to establishing laws about marijuana. But the working group's report largely reiterated the current policy and did not press for energetic measures, according to The Associated Press.
In May, Sessions urged Congress not to renew the federal law that prevents the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with states of legalization of medical marijuana. The legislators rejected that advice.
Although then-presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would respect the states 'rights on the issue, Sessions' long history of opposing marijuana reform remains very troubling to people who favor progressive drug laws.
Meanwhile, support for the legalization of marijuana in the United States is at a historic level. A recent Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, the highest level of public support for legalization since the questioner first raised the question almost five decades ago. Another first in the survey was that the majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents expressed their support for legal marijuana.