Sean Pavone Photo | Adobe Stock
The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) has announced plans to audit the city’s latest social equity licensing round amid concerns that the process was flawed, but an industry organization has formed to speak out against a potential licensing redo.
The Social Equity Alliance was created to provide a voice for the 100 social equity applicants who were awarded licenses during the city’s first-come, first-served process that took place in early September.
The competitive application process opened at 10 a.m. the morning of Sept. 3, and roughly 800 business owners applied for cannabis retail licenses, which were to be awarded to the first 100 qualified applicants.
“It was really just a race on the morning of Sept. 3 to submit applications, and 800 people submitted, though only 100 people were eligible,” Jillian Goldsmith, spokesperson for the Social Equity Alliance, tells Cannabis Business Times. “Basically, there are … 700-plus people who are pretty upset that they didn’t get selected for this licensing process—not only the social equity applicants, but also their funders and their backers.”
City Council President Herb Wesson called for the suspension of the city’s licensing process in late October, alleging that the process had been compromised by some applicants receiving early access to the online application system. Wesson drafted a letter to the DCR to urge the agency to stop processing applications for the new cannabis retail licenses and to conduct an independent audit of the process before proceeding. Wesson also suggested that the agency should process every application—not just the first 100 received—as another way to ensure fairness in the process.
Published: November 25, 2019