Los Angeles Head Cannabis Regulator Cat Packer Exits Role

Los Angeles Head Cannabis Regulator Cat Packer Exits Role

<![CDATA[After nearly five years serving as the first executive director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR), Cat Packer is stepping down from the head regulator position of California’s largest city.   As the department’s executive director, Packer advised Los Angeles officials on cannabis law, policy and regulation, and she oversaw the city’s licensed commercial cannabis market. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Packer to the position in August 2017, after city voters approved the local regulation and taxation of adult-use cannabis earlier that year. Commenting on her departure in a social media post on March 9, Garcetti said, “When we established DCR, we knew we needed a fierce leader who would not shy away from controversy associated with this responsibility. Cat was that leader.” Outspoken in her role, Packer publicly criticized the Los Angeles City Council for leaving DCR understaffed and underfunded while the department was tasked with overseeing one of the largest cannabis markets in the world, POLITCO reported. Specifically, Packer helped navigate the department through the rollout of the city’s Social Equity Program, which opened the application process for retail licenses in September 2019, after the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018 and the Budget Act of 2019 appropriated state funding, include $7.8 million to Los Angeles, to help local jurisdictions develop and operate cannabis equity programs. But the first 100 applications in the first-come, first-service process for businesses to apply for licenses drew criticism from those who were left out. In November 2019, Garcetti ordered a third-party audit, which left many potential license winners paying additional months of real estate rent without seeing a return on their investments. RELATED: Los Angeles to Conduct Audit of Social Equity Licensing Process The city ended up approving 200 social equity applicants to operate dispensaries, but less than…

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