Photo of downtown Los Angeles from the Hollywood Hills.

Marc Cooper

The former California coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance has been tabbed to run the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation, the Los Angeles Times reports. Cat Packer, 26, was the choice of Mayor Eric Garcetti to run the agency and was unanimously approved by the City Council.

The council also approved the mayor’s Cannabis Commission nominees, who will provide input to the Department of Cannabis Regulation on the city’s rules. Philip D. Mercado, Southern California Permanente regional chief of general surgery; Rita Villa, a certified public accountant; Robert Ahn, a former member of the planning commission; Victor Narro, a former member of the Police Permit Review Panel; and attorney Misty Wilks will comprise the five-member commission.

Los Angeles budget officials have earmarked $789,800 this fiscal year for the department. City Comptroller Ron Galperin has estimated the city could see $50 million in taxes derived from $700 million in sales in the city.

Under the city’s cannabis industry draft rules, which are still being finalized, businesses must have a plan to hire local residents and if a company has 10 employees they must have a labor peace agreement. The rules propose three licensing phases; the first round allows current medical operators to apply for a license, the second for social-equity applicants, and the third will be the general application period.

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