Los Angeles, California Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Cat Packer to serve as the first executive director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation. Mayor Garcetti made the announcement at 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday. Packer will be tasked with the oversight of what is projected to be the nation’s largest recreational cannabis market.
Packer will launch the department and spearhead the implementation of the new cannabis regulations as part of her new responsibilities. The department was created in June to oversee the regulation and taxation of cannabis sales in the city. A five-member board, the Cannabis Regulation Commission, will oversee the department.
Packer was chosen based on her experience as a policy coordinator with the Drug Policy Alliance. “Taxing and regulating legal cannabis in Los Angeles will be a complex process—we need someone leading the effort who understands and can navigate those nuances,” Garcetti stated. “Cat’s experience makes her an excellent fit for this new role. I am confident that her work will help us implement new regulations in a way that is fair and equitable for all of our communities, respects our neighborhoods and raises valuable new revenue for City services.” City Council President Herb Wesson approved the decision to tap Packer, caller her a “trailblazer” in the cannabis industry.
Denver has been called the nation’s cannabis capital, but with an estimated 1,500 registered and unregistered dispensaries, the crown truly belongs to Los Angeles. Southern California has also enjoyed some of the loosest medical cannabis regulations over the last 20 years. In March, Los Angeles voters approved Measure M which paved the way for a regulated market. The “Wild West” era of Los Angeles is over, but the future remains bright for the regulated industry.
The next step is approval from the Los Angeles City Council, which will confirm Packer’s appointment as head of the Department of Cannabis Regulation.