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A man rolls a marijuana joint is in San Francisco. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP file

Businesses that want to participate in the marketplace need local permits before they can apply for state licenses required to operate in 2018.

“As lawmakers we have a responsibility to reasonably regulate this industry in a manner that is safe, inclusive, and practical,” Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. said Wednesday.

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 places 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.

Los Angeles, home to 4 million people, has long been an unruly frontier in the pot industry, where hundreds of illegal dispensaries and cultivators proliferated.

Earlier this year, city voters endorsed another attempt to regulate the local pot businesses, leading to the new rules.

The legal marketplace is seen as a way to impose order, hopefully squeezing out illegal operators while raising a cascade of new taxes for City Hall.

In the background is widespread uncertainty about whether the Trump administration will attempt to intervene in states where marijuana is legal.

And because marijuana is illegal in the eyes of the federal government, many major banks are leery to do business with dispensaries and growers, so much of the business is conducted in cash.


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