A day after recreational marijuana sales became legal in California, a top Los Angeles police official said authorities are working to ensure that soon-to-be-permitted retail establishments in the city — and marijuana users — comply with the rules.
Recreational marijuana sales became legal in the state under a voter-approved initiative in 2016, creating the nation's largest legal cannabis market. The city of Los Angeles planned to start accepting applications today for temporary recreational sales licenses from existing medical marijuana dispensaries that have obeyed city policies — the highest-priority group.
With sales of recreational marijuana now legal in California, the Los Angeles Police Department is working "very closely" with the city's Department of Cannabis Regulation in understanding how that department will issue permits, regulate compliance with those permits, and ensure that retail sales in the city are "done in a responsible fashion," said LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore.
The police department is also working with Cannabis Regulation, the Los Angeles County Health Department, and the state's Bureau of Cannabis Control to understand how retail sales will unfold in the coming days as well as any consequences to public safety, Moore said.
Some operators are expected to have their temporary approvals for recreational sales early next week, said Cat Packer, executive director of the city's Department of Cannabis Regulation.
"The department will pay close attention to the use of marijuana in a vehicle, to the person driving impaired, to the person selling or furnishing marijuana to a minor; those are all illegal actions and the department will take aggressive action in enforcing the law," Moore said.
LAPD is working with the California Office of Traffic Safety in exploring sampling technology, such as a cheek swab or other type of testing, to scientifically document the level of marijuana impairment, he said. Other departments are exploring such technology as cannabis breathalyzers.
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