Thursday, August 10, 2017
I was so very pleased and excited to see this announcement from the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles, which begins this way: "Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed Cat Packer as Executive Director of the newly-established Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation." Here is more:
Packer will be the first Executive Director for the department, which was created in June after Los Angeles voters approved the local regulation and taxation of cannabis earlier this year. In her new role, Packer will launch the department and lead implementation of the new cannabis regulations being developed by the City Council, City Attorney and Department of City Planning. Her appointment is subject to City Council confirmation.
“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,” said Mayor Garcetti. “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.”
Packer has spent much of her career working on issues of cannabis reform. Prior to joining the City, she worked as a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, where she advocated for responsible cannabis policy across California. “I look forward to serving the City of Los Angeles as we lead the development and implementation of responsible, equitable cannabis policies that will serve as a model for the rest of America,” said Packer. “I can’t wait to get started, and I’m grateful to Mayor Garcetti for this amazing, pioneering opportunity.”
The City’s Department of Cannabis Regulation was established as the result of several voter-approved initiatives over the last year, here in Los Angeles and statewide. Last November, California voters approved Prop. 64, which paved the way for the legalization of recreational cannabis across the state. In March, L.A. voters approved Prop. M — which approved local regulation, taxation and enforcement of cannabis policy. The Department of Cannabis Regulation will be governed by a five-member Cannabis Regulation Commission.
I find this news so very pleasing and exciting because Director Packer is a 2015 graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and she was a student in my marijuana seminar in Spring 2015. Especially in the early years of my seminar, I made a habit of telling students that they could likely become leaders in the field of marijuana law and policy relatively quickly because there were relatively few senior lawyers with knowledge and experience in this space. As I gear up to teach my marijuana seminar again this coming fall, I will be sure to spotlights Cat's impressive early achievement in this arena. (With all my students, I take no credit for their any of their achievements, but I take comfort when learning my instruction did not harmfully lead them astray.)