Mayor Garcetti Picks Chief for New Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation

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Los Angeles has a new chief for a new department that will oversee the city’s regulation and taxation of pot sales.

Cat Packer is shown in a photo distributed by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office on Aug. 9, 2017.

Cat Packer, former policy director for the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to “the drug war,” has been named executive director of the new Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation.

Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Packer, his press office announced around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Packer will launch the new department and help implement regulations of marijuana that are being developed by elected officials and city legal and planning staff. Some proposed regulations for cannabis businesses have already been announced.

In March, city voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure calling for municipal regulation, taxation and enforcement of pot sales. Measure M’s passage followed the November statewide approval of Proposition 64, which immediately legalized adult recreational marijuana possession and, starting in 2018, sales in California.

Packer said in a statement that she hopes to develop and implement “responsible, equitable cannabis policies that will serve as a model for the rest of America.”

Her appointment must be confirmed by the City Council; Council President Herb Wesson lauded the pick, calling Packer a “trailblazer with deep policy knowledge and enthusiasm who brings a refreshing energy” to the city.

The Department of Cannabis Regulation will be overseen by a five-member board, the Cannabis Regulation Commission.

Revenue from taxes on marijuana will go into the city’s general fund. The city’s controller has estimated L.A. could collect $50 million or more annually, the Los Angeles Times reported in June.

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