Posts tagged marijuana
Summary of Major Changes of the Recently Amended Article 4 of Chapter X City of Los Angeles Ordinance

The most significant updates to Article 4 include a revised definition of “Undue Concentration” to increase the number of the number of cannabis businesses and define ownership concentration.  In addition, a tiered system of “Social Equity Applicants” was permitted to allow for economically disadvantaged persons to apply for cannabis licenses.

  • The definition of undue concentration was updated to allow for additional business licenses according to population density and applicable zoning laws.  This includes:

    • One Store Front Retail (Type 10 license) for every 10,000 residents.

    • One Microbusiness (Type 12 license) for every 7,500 residents.  A Microbusiness is an entity that engages in cultivation on less than 10,000 square feet.

    • One square foot (1 sq. ft.) of cultivation space for every 350 square feet of zoned land.

    • One license to manufacturer (Type7) for every 7,500 residents.

    • Existing dispensaries (EMMD) and processors (as defined under Section 104.08) are not subject to this new rule.

    • Additional rules, including calendar days, for how applications are submitted, accepted, processed, approved and denied was also clarified. Some limits pertaining to zoning (i.e. M1-M3, MR1, MR2), as well as limits on the number of licenses (i.e. 1 cultivation license per every 2,500 square feet of cultivation space) were also delineated.

    • The Undue Concentration provisions may be waived if the City Council believes doing so would serve “public convenience or necessity.”

  • Ownership & Percentages was also updated to clarify and limit the number of individuals that may own cannabis businesses

    • A person may own or have a maximum 20% profit share in up to three Storefront retail (Type 10) or Delivery (Type 9) businesses. 

  • Three types of Social Equity Applications (Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3, each which must be approved by DCR), were introduced:

    • Tier 1 applicants are reserved for those with low income AND a prior California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction; OR Low income and a minimum of 5 years California residency. 

      • Restrictions, including a minimum ownership requirement (51%), as well as benefits including expedited renewal processing, fee deferrals are also detailed.

    • A “Tier 2 Social Equity Applicant” was also defined to include anyone with a Low Income & 5 years' residency or 10 years residency and no less than a 33.3% ownership.

    • A “Tier 3 Social Equity Applicant” was also defined to essentially include those entities that support Tier 1 & Tier 2 applicants and regulates the price per square foot of property, in certain instances.

  • Finally, this ordinance also requires a completed financial statement for the “most recently completed fiscal year” for any cannabis businesses applying for a renewal license.


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City Holding Community Meetings on Cannabis Regulations

Posted on: April 25, 2019

The City is hosting two Community Meetings to present information on the current state of cannabis regulation and collect community input on potential regulation of cannabis-related uses in Signal Hill. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn and comment on current State law, the City’s current ban, regulation in Long Beach, State and local fees and taxes and the observations of the City's Prop 64 Subcommittee. The results of the workshop will be presented to the City Council in July. 

The meetings will be held on the following dates in City Council Chambers, 2175 Cherry Avenue:

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

  • Tuesday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Planning Commission Meeting

The City of Signal Hill currently prohibits all commercial uses related to medical and adult use cannabis with the exception of mobile cannabis delivery, which was legalized through State legislation.  In addition, regulated personal indoor cultivation for up to six plants is allowed as mandated by State law.


In a first, L.A. sues unlicensed cannabis dispensary, seeking millions

By JAMES QUEALLY

APR 17, 2019 | 5:10 PM

The city of Los Angeles is seeking millions in civil penalties from an unlicensed South L.A. cannabis dispensary accused of selling marijuana contaminated with pesticides, a move officials said Wednesday is intended to crack down on widespread illegal pot sales.

The dispensary, Kush Club 20, was selling cannabis tainted with paclobutrazol, a fungicide frequently used to make golf turf more dense and verdant, which is classified as a Type II toxic chemical by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is not approved for use on cannabis in California, a lawsuit filed Monday by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said.

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“Customers patronize illegal shops at their peril, and undermine businesses who play by the rules — and whose product is tested to protect buyers’ health,” City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement.

Only 181 dispensaries have temporary city approval to sell marijuana in Los Angeles,according to the Department of Cannabis Regulation. But hundreds of illegal dispensaries have popped up across the city as an attractive option for those looking to buy marijuana while skirting the state’s 15% tax on legal marijuana sales. Regulators, however, have warned that those shops might traffic in unsafe wares or counterfeit versions of popular marijuana brands and cultivators.

“We apparently as a community care a lot about whether our romaine lettuce is contaminated, and we should. We care a lot about whether we can safely eat at Chipotle,” Feuer said at a downtown news conference. “Marijuana buyers should at least exercise that same degree of caution.”

In addition to shutting down the Kush Club 20 dispensary, the lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $20,000 for each day that illegal activity occurred at the property in the 5500 block of Central Avenue in South L.A. Feuer said the business had been operating for about a year, meaning the city could seek up to $7.5 million. The daily civil penalty has yet to be “tested in court,” Feuer said. The city has used criminal statutes to punish illegal dispensaries in the past because they often result in quicker resolutions.

But some city leaders hope the overwhelming financial burden the suit could bring will deter bad actors from setting up shop without a license.

“We are sharpening our tools and we’re laying the basis to deliver what the voters expect from us ... a legal regulated market with appropriate built-in controls,” City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include High Spirits Enterprises, LLC; its “organizer,” James Smith; Kush Club 20; Amy Sahadi Diaz; and Michael Lerner, who is described as the CEO of the limited liability corporation tied to the property. None of those named could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. The suit also marks the first targeting of real-estate brokers and property owners linked to illegal cannabis sales who are alleged to have known that the land was being used for an illegal purpose.

“We’ve alleged the brokers and the business operators and the property owners knowingly omitted the true use of the property from the lease,” Feuer said. “In this case, the lease says that the use is for a church.”

In the last year, the city attorney’s office said it has filed 217 criminal cases involving illegal marijuana dispensaries or delivery services, naming more than 800 defendants. At least 113 illegal storefronts have been closed, officials said.

The decision to seek the civil penalties from Kush Club 20 marks the first attempt to reach into an illegal vendor’s pocket. During a contentious discussion at last week’s City Council meeting, several council members expressed frustration with what they saw as inadequate enforcement of the city’s cannabis regulations.

Asst. City. Atty. David Michaelson said seeking monetary penalties against those charged with operating an illegal dispensary is often “time intensive.” Winning a judgment and the target’s ability to pay the fine is also uncertain, he said. Michaelson said last week that the city had not sought to recoup civil penalties against any of the more than 800 defendants it had brought illegal marijuana cases against in the last year.

Los Angeles Police Department officials said they had also cracked down on illegal dispensaries recently. After the City Council passed an ordinance last month that allows the Department of Water and Power to shut off utilities at unlicensed dispensaries, detectives moved to shut down more than 20 locations in the San Fernando Valley, said LAPD Det. Vito Ceccia of the Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Bureau.

Similar actions are expected in South L.A. later this month, he said at the council meeting.

High Spirits Enterprises was incorporated on April 4, just four days before the city attorney alleges Kush Club 20 began its illegal operation, according to filings with the California Secretary of State. State records show that another limited liability corporation linked to the address, 5527 S. Central, LLC., was formed in December 2016.

The United Cannabis Business Association, which advocates on behalf of legal marijuana business operators and has been vocal in pushing the city attorney’s office to step up enforcement against unlicensed dispensaries, issued a statement Wednesday praising the lawsuit.

“The UCBA and the City Council have been urging the City Attorney about the potential dangers of pesticides in untested products (including Paclobutrazol) and the reckless behavior of landlords who indulge in fraudulent leasing schemes,” executive director Ruben Honig said in a statement.

Honig said that he expects the “lawsuits will deter other illegal enterprises that endanger the public and poison the community.”

Times staff writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.

Support for US Cannabis Legalization Reaches New High, Poll Finds

Leafly

March 20, 2019

https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/support-for-us-cannabis-legalization-reaches-new-high-poll-finds

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A growing majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal, underscoring a national shift as more states embrace cannabis for medical or adult use.
Support for legal marijuana hit 61 percent in 2018, up from 57 percent two years ago, according to the General Social Survey, a widely respected trend survey that has been measuring support for legal marijuana since the 1970s.

An analysis of the survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the General Social Survey staff finds that increased backing of legalization cut across all age groups and political parties. The 2018 poll is the first in which a majority of Republicans support legalizing marijuana — 54 percent, up from 45 percent in 2016.

Among Democrats, 76 percent now favor legalization.

The rising support mirrors the evolving legal landscape across the country. Most Americans now live in places where marijuana is legal in some form, with 10 states allowing recreational usage and more than 30 allowing medicinal use.

The GSS asks about making use of marijuana legal, but does not specify whether it should be legal for recreational or medical use.

Legalization advocates say the increasing public support should prompt the U.S. government to reverse course. At the federal level, marijuana is categorized as a dangerous illegal drug, similar to LSD or heroin.

“Our time has come,” said Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. “Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition.”

Support for legalization is strongest among 18-to-34-year-olds, with nearly 75 percent favoring it.

But older Americans are taking a more favorable view, too. Forty-six percent of those 65 and older say marijuana should be legal, up from 42 percent in 2016.

Views on marijuana legalization have shifted dramatically: In the 1973 GSS, just 19 percent supported legalization.

The change in Americans’ views about cannabis can also be witnessed on the campaign trail. A growing list of Democratic presidential contenders want the U.S. government to legalize marijuana, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor whose home state is the nation’s largest legal pot shop, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a prominent legalization advocate on Capitol Hill.

Support for legalization has been gradually growing for years, but it has increased sharply since 2012, when Colorado and Washington state became the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

The General Social Survey has been conducted since 1972 by NORC at the University of Chicago, primarily using in-person interviewing.

Sample sizes for each year’s survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The most recent survey was conducted April 12 through Nov. 10, 2018, and includes interviews with 2,348 American adults.