LA City Council Has Voted To Decriminalize Cannabis. But What Does It Mean?
The Los Angeles City Council voted on a resolution this week to decriminalize cannabis and remove it from the Schedule I controlled substance list — those drugs considered to have no acceptable medical use.
What's a resolution?
An adopted resolution is a stance with no actual power. So while the vote was 13-0, only the federal government can remove cannabis from the list of drugs Schedule 1 drugs.
So what can it do?
The state and city have power over other parts in the resolution. It includes reducing taxes for licensed operators most harmed by the war on drugs — namely from marginalized communities. And it calls for giving local authorities more power to prosecute illegal growers for water pollution and theft. It also calls for more access to traditional banking services for licensed growers.
What it's like right now for cannabis retailers
Virgil Grant is the owner and operator of California Cannabis in Los Angeles. He says legal cannabis retailers are still paying close to 30% in taxes.
"L.A. City Council, passing resolution, it was a good thing in spirit," Grant said. "But we're just being still hammered with taxes years later. And it's not getting any better for us."
Last year California cut taxes for growers, after leading state cannabis companies warned Gov. Gavin Newsom that the state's legal industry was on the verge of collapse. But cannabis retailers say the new tax structure does not benefit them.
Grant says in order for legal cannabis shops to thrive, the city and state need to go after illegal shops and lower taxes. He estimates there up to 800 illegal cannabis shops in L.A.
Go deeper: California cuts cannabis taxes for growers, but not retailers
Ex-Councilmember Martinez Opposed Healthy Streets LA Plan. Candidates To Replace Her Say She Was WrongAt a forum focused on transit issues, no one mentioned the disgraced former councilmember.
The candidates include a city council staffer, two community organizers, the head of a housing nonprofit, the head of the San Fernando Valley NAACP, and three people in private business.
The new state Legislature is the most diverse ever, but by some measures, it still isn’t fully representative of California. See details in our interactive tool.
Newly-elected Kenneth Mejia joins Councilmember Nithya Raman as some of the city’s most visible Asian American progressives.
While the mayor is the city’s highest office, there’s a lot they can and can’t do.
The council has been through scandals and elections, all within the last six months. New faces are in, and longstanding members are gone. We help you understand who's who and what's next.