When California legalized recreational cannabis at the start of 2018, the city of Los Angeles wanted to use the opportunity to right some of the wrongs inflicted by the War on Drugs.
Under the city’s rules, people from low-income neighborhoods with disproportionately high prior cannabis arrests would be among the first to get approval to launch new cannabis businesses.
Nearly a year and a half later, candidates for the city’s “social equity” program are learning they’ll have to wait a bit longer for their chance to apply for a limited number of pot shop licenses.
The City Council voted Tuesday to open the application window by early September. But many social equity candidates say they can’t afford to keep waiting.
“It’s like they’re setting people up to fail — people that don’t actually know what kind of money it takes to do something like this,” said Moises Estrada, who hopes to open a shop in Downtown L.A.
Estrada said he qualifies for the social equity program due to a prior cannabis conviction. Like many hoping to enter the industry, Estrada signed a lease in early 2018 for a building that complies with the city’s strict cannabis zoning rules.
But he’s not sure he’ll be able to hold on to the property long enough to apply for a license. He said his investors have backed out, frustrated by the delays. And his landlord is considering eviction.
Published: April 30, 2019