Creation of Cannabis Licensing Commission

Proposed by Fitzsimmons / SORO NC on March 15, 2017
Motion failed to be adopted by a majority of Councils before the March 2017 deadline
Passed by
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council


Refers to City Council file 14-0366-S5

The ________ NC/CC supports the 3/8/17 recommendations of the City’s Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations, and Neighborhoods Committee to establish the administrative structure for adult-use and medical cannabis business licensing, including:

  1. The creation of a new Cannabis Licensing Commission with the authority to administer the cannabis license and hearing process, as well as renewals, revocation, inspection co-ordination, and audits:
    • Commission comprised of five members with 4-year staggered terms;
    • No member may have been a registered lobbyist within the City for any cannabis-related activities for the 12 months prior to appointment;
    • Three appointments by the Mayor and two appointments by the City Council;
    • Minimum of one Commission appointee by the Mayor to be an elected member of a Neighborhood Council at the time of the appointment.
  2. The hiring of an Executive Director by July 1, 2017 to oversee Commission staff.
  3. Requiring the CAO to immediately prepare budget and staffing plans to allow the Commission to be fully operational by Sept. 1, 2017, and conduct a fee study to achieve full cost recovery for cannabis regulations.
  4. The establishment of an online cannabis licensing program.


In the wake of the passage of Proposition 64, which decriminalizes adult recreational use of cannabis in California and creates a licensing framework for non-medical cannabis activity, and Measure M, which authorizes the City to tax and create new local regulations for cannabis businesses, Los Angeles faces a rapidly-approaching deadline.

Prop. 64 creates a dual system that requires operating licenses from both the City and State. As the State is mandated to begin issuing licenses by January 1, 2018, the City effectively has the same deadline. Nine months out, LA’s administrative structure for that does not yet exist.

In the first of a series of proposed cannabis ordinances, the City’s Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations, and Neighborhoods (REIGN) Committee has proposed the creation of a new commission and supporting department. The goal is to have the department up and running by July 1 to develop processes and procedures, the commission  by Sept. 1 to begin hearing applications, and licenses issued beginning Jan. 1. It is an aggressive schedule, and may require emergency hiring appointments.

The proposal includes provision for the appointment of at least one NC board member on the commission to ensure that neighborhood voices are included in the licensing process.

Future ordinances will tackle land-use and business operation issues.

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