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Council President Asks Cannabis Head to Suspend Special Retail Applications

Amid questions about the fairness of the process and potential problems with the online application system, City Council President Herb Wesson announced Tuesday he has asked the Department of Cannabis Regulation to suspend processing of requests for specialized marijuana retail licenses.

Wesson sent a letter to Cat Packer, the executive director and general manager of the DCR, saying some people applying for licenses under the Social Equity Program had accessed the online application portal prior to the application period opening at 10 a.m. Sept. 3.

“While it was always understood that not every applicant would get a license, it is paramount that the application process have the utmost integrity, be transparent and fair,” Wesson wrote.

He said there “appears to be no scenario” in which the current application process can “meet those three principles.”

The Social Equity Program is open to people who are considered low- income and/or have a low-level criminal history related to cannabis and operate in a “dispensary-impacted area,” most of which are located in South Los Angeles and Hollywood.

Wesson recommended that the DCR suspend all processing of the applications submitted during the recent period, refund any applications fees that were paid and cancel all processed invoices. He also called for a third-party audit of the process.

“The Department of Cannabis Regulation is committed to the most fair and transparent process possible,” a DCR representative said. “We’ll be meeting with the council president’s office soon to discuss their recommendations.”

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Published: October 29, 2019

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