Los Angeles’ First Cannabis Czar Cat Packer Steps Down

Cat Packer stepped down from her role as government director of the Los Angeles Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR), house to one particular of the largest, most difficult hashish marketplaces in the environment. It is with gratitude that we thank her for her provider as the city’s to start with “cannabis czar.” 

Packer served almost five several years, as the to start with particular person to presume the part of govt director of the DCR. The division is liable for administering the hashish licensing and regulatory plan established by the Los Angeles Town Council. 

DCR processes all applications for countless numbers of cannabis licenses in the City of Los Angeles, can make licensing decisions or licensing tips to the Cannabis Regulation Fee and regulates the functions of licensed cannabis organizations in the town.

Less than the title, Packer suggested Los Angeles officers on cannabis legislation, coverage and regulation, and oversaw the city’s licensed industrial hashish sector. It was a complicated place for everyone to tackle. Around 1,200 enterprise licenses had been granted with Packer at the helm.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti first declared her departure on Twitter. “Under Cat’s management, DCR issued over 1,200 licenses, with about 350 granted to Social Equity candidates,” Garcetti wrote in a tweet. “DCR has created about $320M in tax profits since 2018. Cat’s tenure at DCR manufactured the section a nationwide product in developing equitable hashish plan and implementation.”

Immediately after approximately 5 yrs of top the Dept. of Cannabis Regulation, Cat Packer is exiting her function as Govt Director.

When we proven DCR, we knew we desired a fierce leader who would not shy away from controversy connected with this responsibility, Cat was that chief.

— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) March 9, 2022

Packer wrote a resignation announcement on March 14, outlining some of her accomplishments throughout her tenure as government director. “I am confident that the Town will continue to deepen its dedication to deal with cannabis coverage reforms and the disproportionate influence of the War on Medicine, and to increase on present initiatives that make cannabis public coverage a lot more accountable and equitable,” Packer wrote. “Furthermore, I belief that DCR will go on to continue to keep equity at the middle of its mission, and broaden and improve hashish applications and companies.”

Ironing Out Licensing Hurdles

Garcetti appointed Packer to the position in August 2017, right after town voters permitted the area regulation and taxation of grownup-use cannabis before that yr. 

Packer confronted overpowering odds and stress for the duration of her reign, with problems that could be predicted in America’s next-major metropolis. Licensing processes had been less than continuous hearth. ​​In 2020, for occasion, hashish business enterprise license applicants in Los Angeles sued the metropolis, boasting the procedure for making use of for a license is flawed.  

A lawsuit was filed by the Social Fairness House owners and Personnel Association—demanding that the city vet all programs centered on a initially-occur-to start with-served basis or occur up with a new technique that is additional equivalent and clear.

Virgil Grant, co-founder of the California Minority Alliance, said Packer is the “fall person” who took the blame for several issues from the get-go, according to The EUR/Digital City Report, although other people cited other troubles.

“It took a appreciable volume of time for us to get the means, irrespective of whether it be workers or otherwise, to set our licensing application ahead,” Packer advised High Moments previous July. Packer’s staff members was sooner or later tripled to satisfy the increasing desires. As of final year, her team grew from a tiny five-particular person team to a more realistic 15-particular person personnel. 

In the beginning, Packer sought out to come to be a civil legal rights attorney focusing on LGBTQ legal rights. But factors transformed in 2012 when Colorado and Washington legalized adult-use hashish. While informed of the problem, she did not consider critically about the matter for a couple more several years. 

But then in 2015, her closing 12 months in legislation faculty, Cat Packer commenced taking programs on how the legislation impacted day-to-day men and women. At the time she was released to The New Jim Crow by civil legal rights law firm Michelle Alexander, a professor at the college, she explained her eyes have been opened. She agreed that nothing at all had contributed extra to the systematic mass incarceration of individuals of colour in the United States than the War on Prescription drugs. 

In 2016, while operating with Californians for Dependable Cannabis Reform, Packer campaigned for Proposition 64 with the Roll Up the Vote get together with The Activity and DJ Nitrane. It was around that time that Significant Occasions been given e-mails from her and her campaign, urging volunteers to make phone calls to voters and get to perform.

In the meantime, Michelle Garakian, assistant executive director of the Department of Cannabis Regulation, has been appointed interim govt director. Garakian was also a recurrent correspondent with cannabis-associated media.