By Dakota Smith

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday backed Mayor Eric Garcetti’s picks to oversee City Hall’s new Department of Cannabis Regulation, a vote that comes as officials prepare for legalization of recreational marijuana in California.

Cat Packer, the former California coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, will run the new city division. A five-member Cannabis Commission will provide input on cannabis rules.

The council voted 13-0 to hire Packer, with council members Paul Koretz and Curren Price absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

Appearing before the council, Packer said her interest in cannabis policy started after she saw how pot prohibitions and the “war on drugs” disproportionately affected communities of color.

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