Home » What do the draft regulations for commercial cannabis in the City of Los Angeles mean for entrepreneurs?

What do the draft regulations for commercial cannabis in the City of Los Angeles mean for entrepreneurs?

The draft regulations for commercial cannabis in the City of Los Angeles, proposed in early June in response to the passage of Proposition 64 statewide and Measure M within the city earlier in the year, outline a series of restrictions that would (if adopted) result in most of the city being placed off-limits for licensed commercial marijuana retailers and producers.  And as the draft regulations are designed, more areas of the city will become off-limits to cannabis entrepreneurs as new businesses open.

Many of the proposed restrictions are location-based and would serve to restrict the establishment of future cannabis-related businesses on the basis of zoning and proximity to public facilities, existing medical marijuana collectives, and substance abuse treatment facilities.

Specifically, dispensary and retail commercial marijuana activity is proposed to be restricted to the following zoning codes citywide:

  • COMMERCIAL ZONES:  CR, C1, C1.5, C2, C4, C5, CM
  • INDUSTRIAL (manufacturing) ZONES:  M1, M2, M3
  • HI Hybrid Industrial Live/Work Zone

Further restrictions and permitted zoning classifications are listed for various regions of the city that are subject to regional specific plans.  Microbusiness, cultivation, and production activity will be restricted to M1, M2, and M3 industrial zones only.

Perhaps most significantly, the draft regulations prohibit the establishment of any of the aforementioned of cannabis sale, production, or microbusiness activity within 800 feet of the property line of any of the following facilities:

  • School (K-12; public and private)
  • Public Park
  • Public Library
  • Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facility
  • Any other licensed dispensary, retailer, or microbusiness commercial cannabis activity OR existing medical marijuana business.

While the proposed regulations provide clarity about the types of schools and other public facilities that would serve as a basis for these restrictions, less clear is the definition of an “alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility”. Section 11834.02 of the California Health and Safety Code provides a definition for these types of facilities, but the proliferation of non-licensed sober living homes in residential neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and a lack of specificity in business licensing records among treatment facilities of this type further complicates the process of determining whether a given location is or is not near a facility that would impose an 800-foot buffer according to these draft regulations.

These proximity-based restrictions underscore the need for prospective cannabis entrepreneurs to move quickly once licenses become available from the State of California.  Every cannabis-related business location that opens would result in approximately two million square feet within the City of Los Angeles being closed to development of future retail stores, production facilities, and microbusinesses.


In order to explore the potential consequences of these draft regulations, Geograf.io Green has produced the following interactive map of those locations in the City of Los Angeles that might be available for development of cannabis-related businesses.  Note that this map takes into account zoning restrictions as well as the 800-foot proximity limit to all of the aforementioned features except for substance abuse treatment facilities, as these facilities are nebulously defined.



As you prepare for the land rush that will almost inevitably occur as business owners seek to secure competitive (and legal!) locations to operate cannabis-related businesses in the City of Los Angeles, consider the advantage of retaining the expertise of Geograf.io, a geospatial technology consulting firm that provides location analytics and site selection services to the growing cannabis industry.  Our signature Geograf.io Green consulting service will help you to identify an optimal location for your new business in the city of Los Angeles, the state of California, or anywhere in the United States where medical or recreational cannabis is legal.  Contact us or give us a call at (951) 732-8427 to grow smarter.

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