The city of Los Angeles is currently looking to hire someone to manage their nascent cannabis social equity program. There’s only one problem: the market is struggling. GETTY
Are you an LA-based cannabis professional who wants to help people in areas that have been hit hard by cannabis or drug offenses become business owners and get jobs within the state’s newly legal cannabis market? If so, the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) has a job for you!
They’re looking for someone to run their “social equity program.” The position, which is titled “principal project coordinator,” requires a master’s degree and at least three years of experience with either economic and community development or providing services to low-income, minority or underserved communities.” It also pays very well— $95,776 to $140,021.
There’s a snag though: In that same job posting, there is this interesting disclaimer: “The L.A. social equity program has been a point of contention for many in the city’s struggling legal cannabis market and has not yet been fully rolled out.”
That ominous statement poses a loaded question: What’s the issue here? As Marijuana Business Daily notes, other California cities that include Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento have social equity programs. So why is this such a big problem in the City of Angels?
Josh Drayton, director of communication and outreach for the California Cannabis Industry Association, an organization that represents over 300 businesses in the state, says each city has structured their equity programs a little differently. In LA, for instance, there are different measures for different types of licensing for operators. Unfortunately, nothing has been finalized and as a result, there are no licenses in LA County.
“Although voters legalized cannabis, it’s still very difficult to get the market to open up in LA County,” he said. Drayton believes that LA County’s governing body pay a lot of lip service about the market while choosing to keep the industry out of the area. To bolster his claim, Drayton brings up how the city recently announced that funding, which had initially been earmarked for the social equity program, would be diverted to the Los Angeles Police Department to pay for their cannabis enforcement overtime.
Not so fast. According to a source at LA’s DCR, the “City of Los Angeles” is an entirely different locality from LA County, which is managed by a board of supervisors. The City of Los Angeles is “one of 88 incorporated cities within LA county.” Secondly, the DCR has issued temporary approval to approximately 181 retail cannabis businesses. The operative word here is “temporary,” as in not permanent.
Published: April 04, 2019
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