July 05, 2018, Los Angeles
California’s cannabis legalization laws allow local jurisdictions to go with devising their own rules and regulations. We have seen it how San Diego is trying to fast-track the process of expunging past cannabis convictions. Similarly, Los Angeles is vying to commence the licensing of cannabis growers and manufacturers from August 1st. However, it will take months of groundwork before they can actually kick off their operations.
Businesses have received the announcement with mixed emotions. Some are hopeful that the licensing will help in putting the brakes on the flourishing unregulated market. On the other hand, some growers have shown frustration on the expected red tapping that will go hand in hand with the procedure.
LA’s Cautious Approach
Blanket legalization came into effect from the first day of this year in California, resulting in sprouting of cannabis retail stores in major city centers of the state. While retail operations are thriving in Los Angeles, the city regulators have put a stringent licensing process for cultivators and other businesses associated with the legal industry.
A multilayer review process has been devised by the city to green light non-retail cannabis stakeholders. A comprehensive list of legal requirements has to be met along with the record of past inspections to become eligible for operating in the legal environment.
It is interesting to note that over 150 legal retail stores are already operating in the city. But other components of the supply chain (growers, manufacturers) are still on hold. This is the reason retail stores have to get their products from other parts of the state. Experts are of the thought that this over-cautious approach of city administration is hurting its own economy. By pacing up the process of licensing, the city can get many businesses into its tax net.
On the other hand, the delayed licensing process is hurting the businesses as well. Many business owners are paying rent for the spaces they can’t use until they get the license. They actually have to pay these rents from their own pockets, which is putting a great amount of strain on their finances.
Cat Packer, a member of LA Cannabis Regulation Commission, has declined to specify a date when the first license will be awarded. She says that it would be premature to define a timeline yet because many things are still undecided.
When statewide legalization came into effect, everyone was expecting LA to be the model for the rest of California. But after six months, it is pretty evident that Oakland, San Diego, and other major cities have excelled better than LA. Aside from snail-paced licensing process, businesses have many other grievances as well.
For instance, the thriving black market chipping away at legalized operations has distressed many. Furthermore, heavy tax rates are also troubling businesses in sustaining their operations. Robert Ahn, the head of LA Cannabis Commission, has advised businesses to be patient. He maintains that tremendous challenges have to be overcome for setting up a multibillion-dollar industry that fulfills all the regulations.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]