Alert: LA County Moves Toward Regulating

The LA County Board of Supervisors passed two motions today towards addressing cannabis activities within the unincorporated areas.  Supervisors Barger and Kuehl introduced a motion focusing on enforcementof unlawful activities, while Supervisors Hahn and Solis introduced a motion to revisit the previous report of regulation recommendations by the LA County Advisory Workgroup on Cannabis Regulations.  

UCBA served on two seats of the Workgroup, Executive Director Jonatan Cvetko and Vice President Javier Montes.  

The Working Group’s report represents some of the best responsible cannabis policy examining the needs of the community from a variety of aspects including public health and safety as well as social and economic impacts.

In addition to the numerous changes in the past three years as noted by the motion, the County of LA has since Automated Expungement of over 66,000 cannabis convictions. And last year Legal Cannabis was deemed essential throughout the pandemic and has responsibly provided safe access and economic stability. 

We must balance the need of enforcement with the will of the people in a manner that promotes true justice. 

The recent enforcement actions highlight the need and bring awareness to the challenges faced by legal operators which make up only 20% of California’s mostly illicit market.

While UCBA recognizes the intent of this motion, we have found greater success in alternative enforcement solutions that do not repeat the same harms of the past.  In 2019 we introduced a bill that successfully led to preventing WeedMaps from advertising unlicensed cannabis operators.  

This year we introduced a new bill AB 1138 which provides for civil (not criminal) penalties of up to $30,000 a day against unlawful cannabis activities.  Simultaneously we stopped SB 235 and continue to oppose AB 45 for not addressing the public health and any safety concerns caused by the hemp market.  Responsibly regulating and licensing cannabis activities is inevitably one of the best tools in combating the illicit market. 

The County of LA, comprised of 89 local jurisdictions, is larger in population than 42 other states.  To date only 10 of the 71 jurisdictions, that voted in favor of Prop 64, license legal storefront cannabis retailers.  The impact of LA County’s Supervisors leadership on this topic is immeasurable.

We strongly support today’s motion and look forward to continuing to work with the LA County Board of Supervisors as we reexamine the next steps towards responsibly legalizing cannabis activities. 

Thank you to all the LA County Board of Supervisors for your unanimous support in these motinos and continued leadership on this issue.

Jonatan Cvetko
Executive Director

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