Business Law Legalization Local News

Marijuana growers, manufacturers have yet to get the green light from L.A.

Months after California legalized the marijuana business, pot growers and manufacturers lament that they are still locked out of the legal industry in Los Angeles.

More than 100 shops have already gotten city approval in Los Angeles, but not the companies that have historically furnished them with cannabis, which were supposed to be second in line under a complex set of city regulations passed in December.

L.A. had originally planned to finish processing their applications by April but has not even started accepting that paperwork. As 4/20 rolled around Friday — the informal holiday for pot enthusiasts — there was no official word on when that would happen.

That has aggravated marijuana growers, manufacturers and other cannabis companies seeking to do business legally in Los Angeles. Under California law, they cannot get state licenses if they do not have local authorization. And if they don’t have a state license, it is illegal for newly licensed shops to buy their products.

 “If people don’t get their licenses in the very near future, their businesses are tenuous,” said Aaron Herzberg, founding partner of Puzzle Group, a law firm specializing in cannabis licensing and real estate. “Maybe those businesses are driven into the black market entirely.”

Marijuana companies that had lined up business locations are being “bled dry” as they hang on to costly leases, said Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, a cannabis industry group. Ryan Jennemann, manager of the cannabis cultivation company THC Design, said his firm has cut dozens of employees in recent months.

“It’s an unsettling feeling,” Jennemann said. “We’re in a state where cannabis is legal. The 4/20 holiday used to be an underground thing — now they’re talking about it on MSNBC. And we don’t have permits.”

The delay has also prevented any new operators, including shops, growers and other marijuana enterprises, from getting into the legal industry in L.A.

Under the regulations, they would get a shot at city approval in a third phase of applications, after L.A. grants approval to marijuana growers and manufacturers that had been supplying existing shops.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Emily Alpert Reyes on Los Angeles Times


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Published: April 23, 2018

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