Los Angeles Advances Cannabis Ordinance

We have read numerous articles that have stated that the LA City Council Advanced an Ordinance, specifically Article Five. We caution everyone that there is no substitute for reading the flush language of the Ordinance for yourself or seeking the advice of a competent professional. However, we have made a tortured effort

Los Angeles Advances Cannabis Ordinance
Los Angeles Advances Cannabis Ordinance

to condense fifteen pages to a bit over 3,000 words. If you are affected by these provisions, our Cannabis Practice Group can assist your efforts.

Los Angeles Advances Cannabis Ordinance

The City Council in LA Advances Commercial Cannabis Regulation Ordinance with significant additions and changes to the permitted locations for commercial cannabis activity. The stated purpose of Article 5 of the Ordinance is:

The purpose of this article is to stem the negative impacts and secondary effects associated with Cannabis related activities in the City, including, but not limited to, those documented in case law and in the legislative histories of cannabis regulations in the City, including but not limited to: neighborhood disruption and intimidation caused in part by increased transient visitors; exposure of school-age children and other residents sensitive to cannabis; cannabis sales to minors; and violent crimes.

This article is part of the City’s first comprehensive set of regulations addressing Commercial Cannabis Activity in the City. The purpose of this article is to strike a balance to protect local communities and neighborhoods from the known negative effects of cannabis activities, while also to provide for Commercial Cannabis Activity recognized by State law. This article may be reviewed by the City within four years after its adoption with the purpose to determine whether the public health, welfare, and safety would be served by either expanding or restricting the locations where Commercial Cannabis Activity occurs.

The detailed high-resolution map of permitted locations in Los Angeles can be found here.

Commercial Cannabis Activity

  • includes the cultivation, possession, manufacture, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery or sale of cannabis and cannabis products as provided for in Division 10 of the California Business and Professions Code as implemented by the California Code of Regulations, as currently defined or as may be amended.

Retailer Commercial Cannabis Activity

  • Type 10 – Retailer” in Section 26050 of the California Business and Professions Code
  • Type 9 – Non-Storefront Retailer’ in California Code of Regulations Title 16 Division 42 Chapter 3 Section 5414
  • Permitted Location Zones – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
  • Location Restriction – Outside of a 700-foot radius of a School, Public Park, Public Library, Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facility, Day Care Center, and Permanent Supportive Housing; and outside of a 700-foot radius of any other Retailer or Microbusiness Commercial Cannabis Activity having on-site retail sales, which is licensed by the state of California and licensed by the City to engage in the Commercial Cannabis Activity defined in this section.
    • Exception – Non-Storefront Commercial Cannabis Activity shall not be required to locate outside of a 700-foot radius of a Public Park, Public Library, Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facility, Day Care Center, and Permanent Supportive Housing; or outside of a 700-foot radius of any other Retailer or Microbusiness Commercial Cannabis Activity having on-site retail sales, which is licensed by the state of California and licensed by the City to engage in the Commercial Cannabis Activity. Type 9 – Non-Storefront Commercial Cannabis Activity shall be required to locate outside of a 600-foot radius of a School.

Microbusiness Commercial Cannabis Activity

  • Type 12 – Microbusiness” in Section 26050 of the California Business and Professions Code
  • Permitted Location Zones – 1,4,6,10
  • Location Restriction – Outside of a 700-foot radius of a School, Public Park, Public Library, Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facility, Day Care Center, and Permanent Supportive Housing; and outside of a 700- foot radius of any other Retailer or Microbusiness Commercial Cannabis Activity, having on-site retail sales, which is licensed by the state of California and licensed by the City to engage in the Commercial Cannabis Activity defined in this section
    • Exception – Any Microbusiness Commercial Cannabis Activity with sales to the public limited to off-site deliveries and having no on-site sales shall not be required to locate outside of a 700-foot radius of a Public Park, Public Library, Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facility, Day Care Center, and Permanent Supportive Housing; or outside of a 700-foot radius of any other Retailer or Microbusiness Commercial Cannabis Activity having on-site retail sales, which is licensed by the state of California and licensed by the City to engage in the Commercial Cannabis Activity. Any Microbusiness Commercial Cannabis Activity Commercial Cannabis Activity with sales to the public limited to off-site deliveries and having no on-site sales shall be required to locate outside of a 600-foot radius of a School.

Indoor Commercial Cannabis Cultivation Activity

  • Type 1A – Cultivation; Specialty indoor, Small”;
  • Type 1C – Cultivation, Specialty cottage, Small,” limited to indoor cultivation;
  • Type 2A – Cultivation; Indoor, Small”;
  • Type 3A-Cultivation; Indoor, Medium”;
  • Type 4 – Cultivation; Nursery,” limited to indoor cultivation;
  • Type 5A-Cultivation; Indoor, Large,” in Section 26050 of the California Business and Professions Code;
  • Processor –  cultivation license in California Code of Regulations Title 3 Division 8 Chapter 1 Section 8201(f), limited to indoor processing;
  • Permitted Location Zones – 1,4,6,10
    • Exception – Outside of a 600-foot radius of a School.

Level 1 Manufacturing Commercial Cannabis Activity.

  • Commercial Cannabis Activity falling under the category “Type 6 – Manufacturer 1” in Section 26050 of the California Business and Professions Code; or “Type N or “Type P” in California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Division 1, Chapter 13, Section 40118;
  • Permitted Location Zones – 1,4,6,10
    • Exception – Outside of a 600-foot radius of a School.

Level 2 Manufacturing Commercial Cannabis Activity

  • Commercial Cannabis Activity falling under the category “Type 7 – Manufacturer 2” in Section 26050 of the California Business and Professions Code.
  • Permitted Location Zones – 1,4,6
    • Exceptions – Outside of a 600-foot radius of a School; and Outside of a 200-foot radius of any Residentially Zoned Property.

Testing Commercial Cannabis Activity

  • Commercial Cannabis Activity falling under the category “Type 8 – Testing” in Section 26050 of the California Business and Professions Code
  • Permitted Location Zones –  1, 2,3,4,6,9,10
    • Exception – Outside of a 600-foot radius of a School

Conventions for Applying The Rules:

Measurement

  • The distance specified in this section between Commercial Cannabis Activity businesses shall be the horizontal distance measured in a straight line, without regard to intervening structures, from the closest exterior wall of each business.
  • The distance between any Commercial Cannabis Activity business and any School, Public Park, Public Library, Alcoholism or Drug Recovery or Treatment Facility, Day Care Center, or Permanent Supportive Housing, shall be the horizontal distance measured in a straight line, without regard to intervening structures, from the closest exterior wall of the business to the closest property line of the School, Public Park, Public Library, Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Rehabilitation Treatment Facility, Day Care Center, or Permanent Supportive Housing

Who Prevails – Timing

  • Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facility, if the Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facility first opened for use by its patrons prior to the date the Commercial Cannabis Activity received licenses by the State and City for its location;
  • Day Care Center, if the Day Care Center first received a license from the State as a Day Care Center prior to the date the Commercial Cannabis Activity received licenses by the State and City for its location;
  • Permanent Supportive Housing, if the Permanent Supportive Housing first appeared on a list of addresses and parcel numbers of Permanent Supportive Housing developments that have received entitlement approvals or a building permit from the City, provided by the Housing and Community Investment Department to the Department of Cannabis Regulation, prior to the date the Commercial Cannabis Activity received licenses by the State and City, for its location
  • Public Park, Public Library, or private School, if the Public Park, Public Library, or private School: (a) first opened for use by its patrons or students before the Commercial Cannabis Activity received licenses by the State and City for its location, even if the Public Park, Public Library, or private School opened without a permit, authorization or approval for a Public Park, Public Library, or School; or (b) first received a permit, authorization or approval for Public Park, Public Library, or School before the Commercial Cannabis Activity received licenses by the State and City for its location.

  • Public School – if the public School: (a) first opened for use by students before the Commercial Cannabis Activity received licenses by the State and City for its location, even if the public School first opens without a permit, authorization or approval for a public School; or (b) first received a permit, authorization or approval by the Office of Public School Construction or California Department of Education or Division of the State Architect, before the Commercial Cannabis Activity received licenses by the State and City for its location.

No Authority Without Permitted Use

  • The use of any building, structure, location, premises or land for any Cannabis related activity is not currently enumerated in the Los Angeles Municipal Code as a permitted use in any zone, nor is the use set forth on the Official Use List of the City as determined and maintained by the Zoning Administrator.
  • The Commercial Cannabis Activity described in Subsections A(1) – A(7) of this article is limited to the term and activities provided by the licenses issued to such Commercial Cannabis Activity by the state of California and the City.
  • So long as this article remains in effect, the Zoning Administrator shall not have the authority to determine that the use of any building, structure, location, premises or land for any Cannabis related activity may be permitted in any zone; to add any Cannabis activity to the Official Use List of the City; or to grant any land use approval authorizing any Cannabis activity.
  • Subject to the restrictions of this section, the Zoning Administrator shall have authority to issue interpretations under Section 12.21A.2 of Chapter 1 of this Code as may be necessary to clarify any provision(s) of this article to remain consistent with any amendments to local or State law.

No Vested Or Non-Conforming Rights

  • Neither this article, nor any other provision of this Code, or action, failure to act, statement, representation, recognition, certificate, approval, permit or license issued by the City, the Department of Cannabis Regulation, the Cannabis Regulation Commission, or their respective representatives, agents, employees, attorneys or assigns, shall create, confer, or convey any vested or nonconforming right or benefit regarding any Commercial Cannabis Activity beyond the period of time and range of activities specifically provided by the licenses issued to such activity by the state of California and the City.
  • This article does not create, confer, or convey any right or benefit regarding any activity beyond the lawfulness of any License issued by the City to engage in Commercial Cannabis Activity or any applicable State of California license for such activity. If any City License or any applicable State license is held unconstitutional, invalid or unenforceable for any reason by any court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction, the Commercial Cannabis Activity subject to such license shall be prohibited in the City of Los Angeles and shall immediately cease all operations in the City. The owner of any City License or any applicable State license assumes all risk associated with the validity of such licenses. The owner of any license found to be unconstitutional, invalid or unenforceable and required thereby to cease Commercial Cannabis Activity, shall not be entitled to any compensation from the City based upon such license; the finding that such license is unconstitutional, invalid or unenforceable; or the requirement that any Commercial Cannabis Activity must thereby immediately cease in the City

 

 Unlawful Activity

  • Activity in the City without a license issued by the state of California and by the City, It is unlawful to conduct any Commercial Cannabis Activity in the City falling under Type 1 (Cultivation, Specialty outdoor, Small); Type 1B (Cultivation; Specialty mixed-light, Small); Type 1C (Cultivation, Specialty cottage, Small) (outdoor and mixed-light cultivation); Type 2 (Cultivation, Outdoor, Small); Type 2B (Cultivation; Mixed-light, Small); Type 3 (Cultivation, Outdoor, Medium); Type 3B (Cultivation; Mixed-light, Medium); Type 4 (Cultivation; Nursery) (mixed light cultivation); Type 5 (Cultivation; Outdoor; Large); or Type 5B (Cultivation, Mixed-light, Large), in Section 26050 of the California Business and Professions Code.

 

  • It is unlawful to conduct any Commercial Cannabis Activity on any lot located within the Alameda District Specific Plan Zone, Los Angeles International Airport Specific Plan Zone, Port Master Plan of the Port of Los Angeles, or any zone or other areas not identified in Section 105.02(a) of this article.

 

  • It is unlawful to plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, process, manufacture or store any living marijuana plants allowed by State law if such action or conduct occurs outdoors at any location in the City. This prohibition shall not apply to the limited conduct allowed under Health and Safety Code Section 11362.1(a)(3).

 

  • It is unlawful to possess, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, process, manufacture, distribute, store, test, package, label, transport, deliver, sell, purchase, obtain or give away any Cannabis or Cannabis product allowed by State law, if such action or conduct occurs in any structure where any Cannabis or Cannabis derived Is visible from the exterior of the structure. This prohibition shall not apply to the limited conduct allowed under Health and Safety Code Section 11362.1(a)(3).

 

  • It is unlawful to transport or deliver by vehicle any Cannabis or Cannabis derived product allowed by State law, where any Cannabis or Cannabis derived product is visible from the exterior of the vehicle.

 

  • It is unlawful to establish, operate or participate in a medical marijuana collective or cooperative unless in a dwelling unit which has no more than three qualified patients, persons with identification cards or primary caregivers or a combination of these amounting to three.

 

  • It is unlawful to operate, use, or permit the operation or use of any land, structure, or vehicle in the City for any of the stated prohibited actions or conduct. It is unlawful to own, establish, or permit the establishment of any land, structure or vehicle in the City for any of the stated prohibited actions or conduct. It is unlawful to rent, lease or otherwise permit any of the prohibited actions or conduct at any location, structure or vehicle in the City.

Location Zones

  1. Chapter 1 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code: C1 Limited Commercial Zone, C1.5 Limited Commercial Zone, C2 Commercial Zone, C4 Commercial Zone, C5 Commercial Zone, CM Commercial Manufacturing Zone, M1 Limited Industrial Zone, M2 Light Industrial Zone, or M3 Heavy Industrial Zone, under Chapter 1 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code; or
  2. Commercial Manufacturing (Glencoe/Maxella) Zone: CM(GM) Zone under the Glencoe/Maxella Specific Plan; or
  3. Central City West Specific Plan Zone: RC4(CW) Residential Mixed-Use Category, RC5(CW) Residential Mixed-Use Category, C1(CW) Limited Commercial Category, C2(CW) Commercial Category, C4(CW) Commercial Category, or CM(CW) Commercial Manufacturing Category, under the Central City West Specific Plan; or
  4. Warner Center Specific Plan Zone: WC Warner Center Specific Plan Zone where “Retail Store, general merchandise” or “Hybrid Industrial” uses are permitted under the Warner Center Specific Plan; or
  5. Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District Specific Plan Zone: LASED Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District Specific Plan Zone under the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District Specific Plan; or
  6. Playa Vista Specific Plan Zone: M(PV) Industrial Zone and M2(PV) Industrial Zone under the Playa Vista Specific Plan; or
  7. Paramount Pictures Specific Plan Zone: Paramount Pictures Specific Plan Zone within the Lemon Grove Lot (Parcels A and B), South Bronson Lot, Windsor Lot, Camerford Lot, Waring Lot, and Gregory Lot (Parcels A and B) under the Paramount Pictures Specific Plan; or
  8. USC Specific Plan Zone: USC Specific Plan Zone within Subarea 3 under the USC Specific Plan; or
  9. Jordan Downs Urban Village Specific Plan Zone: CM(UV) Commercial Manufacturing Zone under the Jordan Downs Urban Village Specific Plan; or
  10. Comfield-Arroyo Seco Specific Plan Zone: UC(CA) Urban Center, UI(CA) Urban Innovation, UV(CA) Urban Village Zones under the Cornfield-Arroyo Seco Specific Plan; and

“Grandfathering Rules”

  • Limited Grandfathering of Existing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries [“EMMD”] Pending Receipt of a Final Response by the City to Application for a License. An EMMD that is operating in compliance with the limited immunity provisions (Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 45.19.6.3) of Proposition D notwithstanding those restrictions would have been repealed, including the tax provisions (Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 21.50) of Proposition D, may continue to operate within the City at the one location identified in its original or amended business tax registration certificate until such time that the EMMD applies for and receives a final response to its application for a City license for Commercial Cannabis Activity being conducted at that location. To avail itself of the terms of this Section, an EMMD must: (1) apply for a license from the City within sixty calendar days of the first date that license applications are made available by the City; and (2) limit on-site cultivation at the Business Premises to not exceed the size of the EMMD’s existing square footage of building space as of March 7, 2017, as documented by dated photographs, building lease entered into on or before March 7, 2017, or comparable evidence.
  • Limited Grandfathering if the City Issues a License. If the City issues the EMMD a City license for Commercial Cannabis Activity, the EMMD shall continue to operate at its location within the City in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the City. Such EMMD shall not be subject to the zone, distance and sensitive use restrictions stated in Section 105.02 of this article until after December 31, 2022, on the condition that the EMMD: (1) operates and continues to operate in compliance with the distance and sensitive use restrictions (Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 45.19.6.3(L) and (O) of Proposition D notwithstanding those restrictions would have been repealed; and (2) limits on-site cultivation at the Business Premises to not exceed the size of the EMMD’s existing square footage of building space as of March 7, 2017, as documented by dated photographs, building lease entered into on or before March 7, 2017, or comparable evidence. If the EMMD issued a License fails to operate in compliance with these provisions of Proposition D, the EMMD’s License shall be subject to revocation. This limited grandfathering shall not create, confer, or convey and vested right or nonconforming right or benefit regarding any activity conducted by the EMMD beyond the term and activities provided by the License. This limited grandfathering shall cease immediately after December 31, 2022. After December 31, 2022, all EMMDs shall be required to be located on a Business Premises that meets all the requirements of Article 5 of Chapter X of this Code. Any EMMD located on a Business Premises that does not meet all the requirements of Article 5 of Chapter X of this Code shall cease operating immediately after December 31, 2022.
  • Special Exception – the limited grandfathering provided by this Section 105.03 shall not create, confer, or convey any vested right or nonconforming right or other benefits regarding any activity conducted by the EMMD beyond the term and activities provided by the licenses issued by the State and City to such EMMDs.

No Conflict With Laws

  • Federal – This article is not intended to conflict with Federal law or stand as an obstacle or conflict with any efforts by the Federal government to enforce Federal laws related to Cannabis related activities.
  • State – This article is not intended to conflict with State law. This article shall be interpreted to be compatible with State enactments and in furtherance of the public purposes that those enactments encompass.