Four hundred and seven days have passed since the application window closed for Phase 3/Round One “social equity” cannabis retail storefronts -- without a single solitary “social equity” license actually being issued by the LA DCR.
In addition to the second lawsuit, now punted to a December 4, 2020 hearing date, there’s a third lawsuit that’s been filed against the Department and its Executive Director, Cat Packer.
Two cannabis trade organizations say restrictions on the delivery licenses, due to an ordinance revision earlier this year, bar them from participating in the market until 2025. They want the court to reinstate what the law initially permitted and allow stand-alone businesses to apply in addition to “social equity” operators. The lawsuit does not seek to limit ‘social equity’ applicant (SEA) rights granted in the rewritten version.
Less than 100 SEA’s applied at the onset of last week’s application window for delivery permits, distribution, and nonvolatile manufacturing licenses. When compared to the 800 plus applicants who vied for Phase 3/Round One retail cannabis storefronts in September 2019, the lackluster showing makes it clear that SEA’s, along with their money partners, have shied away from further engagement with Packer and her protracted process.
While it's anyone's guess how these legal battles will affect the invoiced applicants, the LA Cannabis Regulation Commission has cancelled 18 meetings alone in 2020 and is not a forum to answer these questions.
After THREE YEARS-the first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.
The world’s largest legal cannabis market deserves better.
(Gary Mittin is a commercial real estate broker, specializing in cannabis real estate.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.