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Posted on 03/11/2024
March News Bulletin


This month, the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) celebrates Women’s History Month. We honor and recognize the many trailblazers of the cannabis industry from women-owned dispensaries, delivery services, cultivators and manufacturers; activists; and those in ancillary industries. There are too many individuals to name here, but please know that your contributions are seen and felt.

DCR continues to move forward with transitioning licensees into the Annual License process. It is imperative for applicants and licensees to be aware of timelines and processes for the Annual License process. Please check out our Annual Licensing webinars for more information For updates, please sign up to receive DCR communications at the bottom of our main web page here. Also, further down, you will find information about the DCR’s compliance process, including how to prepare for a compliance inspection. Additionally, you will find information about the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health inspection for which there is an important deadline at the end of this month. Please read on in this bulletin for updates on these items.

Today, on International Women’s Day, I wish every woman the strength to continue moving the ball forward for themselves and all women.


Michelle Garakian

Executive Director

Image of several women in a row from side view

Women's History Month

Photo of woman being interviewed

Social Equity applicant Kelly McKnight says it best in this video. Women’s contribution to the cannabis industry must be highlighted.

Four photos of women in the cannabis industry

Image of Rocky Wiles being interviewed with television cameras in front

A DCR Profile: Rocky Wiles, Compliance and Enforcement Division Chief, City of LA Department of Cannabis Regulation (LADCR)

Rocky is DCR’s Compliance and Enforcement Division Chief who started her City career at the Department of Building and Safety (DBS) as a Structural Engineering Associate. Her road to get DBS was anything but easy. Although Rocky holds a degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in architectural engineering, then a primarily male-dominated field, Rocky had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to prove her abilities.

As a college student her initial request to change majors from architecture to architectural engineering was rejected, but through an appeals process she was admitted. Unfortunately, during her appeal, she was told she was not the kind of student they were looking for to represent the school of engineering. Persistent in her efforts, Rocky managed to convince the all-male appeal aboard to allow her to pursue the major and eventually graduated in 1992.

After college, as a young female professional working as a plan check engineer at DBS, her decisions were often challenged by private engineers whose plans she reviewed. Rocky has taken on rejection, doubt, and discrimination head on.

“As a woman of color, you have to continue proving yourself over and over again,” she said.

Throughout her college and professional career Rocky has found herself surrounded by men, whose trust she’s had to earn through hard work and perseverance. Thankfully, some of these attitudes have shifted over time.

Now with a long track record of success, Rocky leads DCR’s Compliance and Enforcement efforts for the largest cannabis industry in the country, one of several female executives leading the Department.

“My mission here is to help our licensees obtain the tools necessary to not only survive but succeed long term in the cannabis industry, while ensuring compliance with the Rules and Regulations for Cannabis Procedures,” said Rocky.

“Women in any industry will face a myriad of hardships, but we are used to having to fight back. Our strength and ability to continue striving for more in spite of everything is what makes us strong,” she said.

While she learned that lesson the hard way, she also learned about strength from her family. Although Rocky was born in Texas, she spent the first few years of her life in El Salvador. Yet, due to the Salvadoran Civil War, her family was uprooted again to find safety in Los Angeles. She has been in California ever since.

When not at DCR, Rocky is an avid runner, loves live music, and is currently learning to play guitar.

Rocky is proof that a woman can do anything she sets her mind to.

DCR Updates Header

DCR Updates

Important Deadline for LA County Department of Public Health’s Streamlined Inspection Program—Site Evaluation

Time is running out to sign up for LA County's Public Health Permit Site Evaluation. This process is specifically designed for current Temporary Approval holders as a pre-evaluation of their facility to obtain the final Public Health Permit. DCR urges cannabis business operators to act now as operators will not be able to sign up for the streamlined process after March 31, 2024.

Appointments for Site Evaluations are on a first-come, first-served basis. To see if you qualify, go to DCR's compliance page. Miss the deadline? Cannabis businesses will still need to go through a public health inspection, but will utilize the standard process for inspections and Health Permits. The Site Evaluation Program serves as a tool in the path toward obtaining a Public Health Permit.

Inspector with a clipboard

DCR’s Compliance and Enforcement Division (CED) oversees licensed cannabis businesses and utilizes progressive enforcement tools to gain compliance — ensuring businesses operate equitably, safely, ethically, and responsibly.

CED conducts inspections of cannabis businesses to ensure they abide by the Rules and Regulations, including operational safety and product quality, while safeguarding the community from potential negative impacts. A primary objective of the division is to facilitate compliance among licensees, serving as an educational resource and fostering dialogue between operators and community members. Beginning this year, the division launched its compliance inspection program, where inspectors proactively engage with businesses to prepare them for a successful inspection. Additionally, as part of the new Annual License process, the division will conduct Final Inspections, a crucial step preceding the issuance of operating permits.

When inspectors identify deficiencies during inspections, DCR will issue the licensee a Notice to Correct (NTC). This notice outlines the regulations in question, the findings, and the necessary corrective actions. It's important to note that receiving an NTC does not incur fines or penalties. Inspectors will follow up to ensure that the corrections have been completed. However, in cases of severe violations, DCR may also issue a Notice of Violation, which carries significant fines, or even a Notice of Suspension, which requires businesses to immediately cease operations

Please reach out to to request more information or if you have any questions.

Poster for the Q&A Virtual Lunch Hour on March 13, 2024

Q&A Virtual Lunch Hour: March Edition

Join DCR’s Assistant Executive Director Jason Killeen for the March edition of Q&A Virtual Lunch Hour Wednesday, March 13, 2024, from 12:00 P.M.-1:00 P.M. Pacific Time. Grab your lunch and take advantage of this unique opportunity to discuss cannabis licensing with DCR. RSVP today and submit your question(s) ahead of time by clicking the link here. Questions sent in advance will be prioritized and answered first. Please note that questions about individual applications will not be answered in this forum. You can join the webinar here.

DCR 2023 Annual Report

Read DCR’S 2023 Annual Report

Annual License Corner

ICYM Part 2: DCR hosted a second webinar dedicated to Annual License: Next Steps on March 5, 2024. You can watch it here and review the slide presentation here.

All licensees and applicants must go through the Annual License process, some sooner than others. The importance of understanding and preparing for the Annual License process is essential to seamless cannabis business operations.

Please visit the DCR update on Annual Licensing here. You can also visit the Annual License web page here. A synopsis of the process can be found in the graphics below.

2024 Pricess for Retail Business
2024 Pricess for Non-Retail Business

DCR Wants to Spotlight You

DCR Wants to Spotlight You

DCR wants to let the public know about the grand opening of your retail store. Tell DCR about it and it’ll be shared it in our upcoming publications. Email us at