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Los Angeles – California moved a step closer Friday to allowing marijuana deliveries in communities that have banned retail sales of the drug as regulators rebuffed cities and police chiefs opposed the rule.

The proposal is a major issue that could ultimately end up in court as the state continues to assemble pieces in the pot regulatory puzzle since recreational sales became legal Jan. 1.

Cities have been able to ban retail sales, but state law says local governments cannot prevent cannabis deliveries on public roads so the state – at this point – rejected the plea from opponents who said it would increase crime and cause other problems.

California police chiefs, the League of Cities and other groups launched an online petition this summer opposed to the proposal that showed wide-eyed children gesturing toward a pot delivery van outside a school.

Regulators received thousands of comments about a raft of proposed regulations, but half of those were aimed at the delivery issue, said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

“There was a lot on both sides of the dial, but the determination was to leave statewide delivery as it was,” he said.

The proposed delivery rule and changes in other draft regulations now face a 15-day public comment period. The rules are expected to be finalized in December.

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