Los Angeles is in line to become the nation’s largest city with legal recreational marijuana after the City Council voted Wednesday to license sales and cultivation next year.
The landmark vote came after a hearing in which council members characterized the rules as a work in progress almost certain to see revisions next year, after California launches its recreational pot industry in January.
City Council President Herb Wesson’s office said the city rules would take effect immediately after the signature of Mayor Eric Garcetti, which is expected.
Under the Los Angeles regulations, residential neighborhoods would be largely off-limits to pot businesses, and buffer zones would be set up around schools, libraries and parks.
Businesses that want to participate in the marketplace need local permits before they can apply for state licenses required to operate in 2018.
The state and hundreds of cities are faced with the challenging task of trying to govern the vast, emerging industry with a projected value of $7 billion. Some areas have banned all commercial pot activity, while other are embracing it.
California is among 29 states where pot is legal, either for medical or recreational use.