A new department dedicated to the legalization of recreational cannabis in Los Angeles City Council has appointed a head who actively denounces the “war on drugs.”
The choice of Cat Packer, the former California coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, to run the new department was supported by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city council.
As she stood before the council, Packer explained her interest in cannabis policy, stating that it peaked when she saw how both restrictions on marijuana and the “war on drugs” disproportionately affect communities of color.
“It’s extremely important that as this industry develops in the city of Los Angeles, that it’s done with consciousness,” she said, the LA Times reported.
The department is set to protect the city’s neighborhoods, children, the environment and legal cannabis businesses.
Legalization of recreational marijuana was passed last year, two decades after the state legalized medical marijuana. The first licenses will be issued by January 2018.
In March of this year, California also set a tax rate for the industry, ensuring a new revenue stream for the city.
In April, the state reviewed a state law that would turn the Golden State into a safe haven for marijuana users. In the face of threats from Washington to step up federal drug law enforcement, the law bears a striking resemblance to sanctuary city legislation preventing California state and local law enforcement from collaborating with federal authorities to enforce immigration laws.
This legislation, Assembly Bill 1578, is still pending in the state.