Hawthorne is considering former LA councilor Herb Wesson as an advisor on cannabis – Daily Breeze

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Among five applicants who are advising the City of Hawthorne on the design and implementation of a new cannabis business program, one familiar face is known in Southern California – former Los Angeles City Councilor Herb Wesson.

Wesson was fired from his seat in 2020 and has represented the 10th district of Los Angeles since 2005. Wesson was running and lost a race for a seat on the LA County Board of Supervisors to Holly Mitchell in November.

“I know there have been some concerns about politics and my politics,” Wesson said on Wednesday, May 12, during a special meeting with Hawthorne City Council to evaluate the five candidates. “I’m not a politician. I am not involved in politics. I’m a small minority businessman just trying to support my family like millions of Americans. “

Wesson went on to admit that he had served in the elected office for 34 years – initially as a MP – and said it should prove to be an advantage for you because I sat on your side of the table.

The City of Los Angeles prohibits anyone who served in an elected office from working as a consultant for the city for up to a year after they left. But nothing prevents former elected officials from consulting for other cities.

Since leaving office, Wesson has formed a consultancy firm Herb Wesson & Associates and, along with Andrew Westfall of Bear Demographics and Research, responded to a Hawthorne query in April. Westfall worked with Wesson in 2017 to design the cannabis program in Los Angeles. The company currently has eight municipal customers, none of which are cannabis related.

Four other applicants competed with Wesson, including HDL Companies, which have worked on cannabis regulations with more than 200 cities and counties in California.

Hawthorne Mayor Alex Vargas said the city is active on the cannabis issue, which it has been fighting for years, amid officials fear the state or a future election measure may involuntarily impose regulations on them. Currently, pharmacies are not allowed in Hawthorne.

“We keep doing this because we just don’t want the state to come in and dictate what we do,” said Vargas. “We fear that the state will come in and regulate everything for us, and we will lose local control.”

Hawthorne voters approved a 5% sales tax on future cannabis retail stores in the city in November 2020. However, this tax will not be charged until the city sets rules for such pharmacies. Vargas expects these rules to come into effect sometime next year.

The advisor will help the city establish a fair process for selecting business applications that the city is likely to be limiting in some way. You will consider zoning issues, security issues, community benefits, and other issues that might come into play.

“I’m not rushing this program and I don’t think anyone else is rushing this program,” said Councilor Angie Reyes-English. “That’s what a good review is for.”

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