Let’s Talk Pot

Last November, California voters passed Proposition 64 (Marijuana Legalization) and, in the months that followed, counties and municipalities have been scrambling to decide how to best implement the new law into their communities. As with many of our laws, the concerns and perspectives on legalization of recreational marijuana vary greatly from community to community.

Proposition 64 immediately legalized the following: adults 21 and older can purchase and carry up to 28.5 grams of marijuana for recreational use, individuals can grow up to six plants per residence for personal use. With legalization came the challenge for state agencies to regulate marijuana production and consumption, taxation and the plan for enforcing the restrictions that the measure included, like the ban on consumption within 1,000 feet of a school, childcare or youth center, or other places where children would be present. By Jan. 1, 2018 cultivation and retail taxes will go into effect and state agencies must start issuing licenses if they have not already.

Even after the passage of Proposition 64 and the flurry of activity at the state level, localities maintain a significant say in the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana. Across our district the conversation has begun in earnest.

The City Council in La Cañada Flintridge, where the majority of voters voted against Prop 64, voted unanimously in December 2016 to ban all outdoor cultivation of marijuana plants, to require a permit for indoor cultivation (limited to the law’s six plants) and to ban the sale or transfer of marijuana within the city.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors set up the Los Angeles County Advisory Working Group on Cannabis Regulation under the Office of Cannabis Management. That group has already begun holding meetings and will hold eight in total this summer to hear from the public and to discuss what recommendations the group can make to the supervisors with regard to cannabis regulations for Los Angeles County.

The Office of Cannabis Management is also holding an additional 18 sessions to hear from unincorporated communities, such as La Crescenta, on what residents think is best for their own community. You can find more information for the County’s efforts through the link below.

Glendale, which voted 54% in favor of legalization, currently prohibits medical and recreational dispensaries, indoor and outdoor cultivation, delivery and distribution. The city has begun reaching out to residents to voice their opinion. There is an ongoing survey that residents can fill out through the city’s website, and you can find a link to that survey below.

In early June, the Los Angeles City Council proposed a framework of rules, including the following: cultivation must be all indoors, dispensaries must be at least 800 feet away from public parks, schools and drug and alcohol treatment facilities, and cultivation and distribution cannot occur in residential neighborhoods. These rules will come up for a vote sometime this year. LA City Council also voted to approve the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Commission, which would oversee the application, renewal, and revocation of permits for both sale and distribution. The commission will also conduct inspections.

Proposition 64 is a significant change in California’s drug policy, with far-reaching effects for many communities, each with their own unique identities, concerns and perspectives. Increased deliberation, conversation and analysis across the communities in the 43rd Assembly District are a good thing. Both supporters and opponents of legalization in our district should be proud of our county and municipal leaders, who have been working diligently to make the regulatory process as transparent, inclusive and thoughtful as possible.

This is an opportunity for many in the 43rd, especially those with strong opinions on either side of the issue, to actively participate in the formation of their community’s policies, and I hope many of you will take advantage of that. For those of you who would like further information, please reach out to my district office; we are more than happy to help. Below are some of the websites mentioned in my article.

District Office: (818) 558-3043

LA County Office of Cannabis Management:

City of Glendale Survey:

Laura Friedman represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.