Los Angeles County Wants to Lead Commercial Cannabis Licensing and Code Enforcement

Los Angeles County is encouraging incorporated cities to create a uniform regulatory standard in the county. The county wants cities to adopt a county-wide model commercial cannabis ordinance. The county also wants the County Health Officer to inspect commercial cannabis businesses for compliance with the regulations and enforce public health permit requirements.

The county is offering the proposed inspection and enforcement program to cities free of charge. The county intends to recoup the program’s costs by issuing pubic health permits and charging service fees. This proposal is attractive as cities pay consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to perform this service. The county published a plan review checklist that would be used as part of the permitting process.

Los Angeles County is comprised of 88 incorporated cities. Our OBEDIO data shows that only twenty-one (21) incorporated cities in Los Angeles County permit commercial cannabis activities.

The city council for Avalon city will be the first to consider the county’s proposal at its meeting tonight. The city currently allows medical cannabis delivery services. Avalon may also place a commercial cannabis tax measure on the March 3, 2020 ballot. It is not clear whether other cities in Los Angeles County are considering the county’s proposal.

The county’s proposal could create efficiencies in the decentralized municipal regulatory scheme. The proposal would also offer consistent commercial cannabis policies across the LA region. The cannabis industry should work with the county to ensure that the permit and service costs are as reasonable and do not duplicate fees currently charged by the cities. Depending on the implementation, LA County’s proposal may be a welcomed evolution in the industry.

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