MedMen, one of four operators of recreational cannabis stores in West Hollywood, has petitioned the Los Angeles County Superior Court to void the city’s lengthy, complex and expensive process for vetting applications for permanent recreational cannabis licenses, a process in which it and the other three failed to qualify.
In a petition filed yesterday, Farmacy Collective, the local entity through which MedMen operates in West Hollywood, asked that the court halt any action required to complete the application process for the winners of the eight recreational cannabis licenses, who still must obtain state cannabis licenses and local business licenses. It also asked that the court order the City of West Hollywood to dismiss the independent panel chosen to evaluate the applications and appoint a new one. And it asked that the evaluation panel be required to give priority in its assessments to existing cannabis businesses. MedMen argues that that was the intent of some of those who crafted the 2016 voter initiative to legalize cannabis in California known as Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
The request, if granted, would have a major impact on the eight winners of recreational cannabis licenses, who have been securing retail space, hiring designers for those spaces and applying for the state and local business licenses. They include Aeon West Hollywood Inc., the Artist Tree LLC (The Artist Tree), Calma Weho LLC (Calma), Essence Weho LLC (Essence), J&P Consulting (Budberry), PDLP JV LLC (Greenwolf West Hollywood), Pleasure Med LLC (Pleasure Med), and Redwood Retail LLC (Lord Jones). Several prominent local residents and business people are associated with those winners. For example, Jason Illoulian of Faring, the real estate developer, is a partner in Calma. Soheil Yamini, the owner of Pink Dot on Sunset, is one of the owners of Greenwolf. And Brian Robinson, owner of the Pleasure Chest, is also the owner of Pleasure Med.
In 2017, the West Hollywood City Council agreed to a plan in which the city would grant eight cannabis licenses in five different categories. The city agreed to grandfather in existing medical cannabis dispensaries and give them temporary licenses to sell recreational cannabis, one of the most sought-after categories, while the application process continued. The medical cannabis retailers that were granted the temporary licenses are Alternative Herbal Health Services at 7828 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group at 7213 Santa Monica Blvd., MedMen WeHo at 8208 Santa Monica Blvd. and Zen Healing at 8464 Santa Monica Blvd. The City Council in February agreed to extend the temporary recreational cannabis licenses until the end of this year but did not set an absolute expiration date. It is widely expected that the holders of those temporary licenses, who have banded together to lobby under the name “the Originals,” will be major contributors to campaigns of candidates in the November 2020 general election, in which John Duran and John Heilman are expected to run for re-election. Duran has opposed the licensing process, arguing that West Hollywood should adopt a “free market” approach.
Published: September 06, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News