The following is an email I received from The Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force:
Dear Task Force Supporters,
Today was a historic day in the City of Los Angeles as the City Council passed ordinances establishing the basic framework for licensing and regulating commercial cannabis activity in the City. This is a watershed moment for the entire cannabis industry, and for all of you that have made many sacrifices to help lay the foundation for the future of our industry in Los Angeles. A regulated commercial cannabis market in Los Angeles is an accomplishment over a decade in the making, with many working countless hours and making significant personal sacrifices in guiding the City Council to effectively implement the will of the voters to license and regulate commercial cannabis. Now, for the first time, there exists a legal, sanctioned pathway for cannabis business licenses in the second-largest city in the United States. For their part, the Los Angeles City Council and staff worked diligently to meet the state’s January 1 deadline for local regulation, and in the largest market at that.
For two years, the Task Force has worked to revolutionize the Los Angeles cannabis industry from the failures of Proposition D to a vibrant and properly regulated market. We are grateful to each of you for putting your time, money and passion into this difficult and oftentimes frustrating work. The ordinances in many ways reflect your contributions and our collective efforts and perseverance, and while they are far from perfect and a bumpy road undoubtedly lies ahead of us, we continue to push forward and work with our partners and allies to promote a healthy regulated cannabis industry in Los Angeles. Our hard work thus far has accomplished:
An extended end-date for Proposition D enforcement of April 1, 2018;
The issuance of business licenses, which grant the affirmative right to conduct commercial cannabis activities, rather than Certificates of Compliance or limited immunity waivers;
A pathway for some non-retail businesses to secure temporary provisional licenses, instead of having to shutter operations altogether until a final license can be obtained;
The removal of retail distance requirements for delivery businesses;
A social equity framework to address the failed war on drugs;
The groundwork for an application process to get a license in 2018; and
Helping to create the largest representation for the cannabis industry in Los Angeles by collaborating with the UFCW Local 770, UCBA, CCIA, and NCIA.
This is by no means the end of our journey together. While there are many positives in the ordinances adopted today, there are also several gaps to be filled and refinements to be made. In a regulatory process of this magnitude, change happens over time and when we all come together to meet a common purpose. Even in today’s City Council meeting there were numerous motions and changes proposed, all of which the Council will take back up when it returns from its holiday recess in January. For now, a basic framework is in place, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done.
There is much we still don’t know about how the process will be administered, when actual applications will become available, or the first day the City will begin accepting submissions. Also, still unknown are the specifics of the social equity program, how many licenses will be issued in total, and the expected timeline for processing applications. We anticipate additional information soon and will disseminate as it is received.
Over the next several weeks, we will continue our work and keep everyone informed as the licensing process begins at the local and state levels. We will also send a year-end update towards the end of this month that will discuss the next steps for 2018.
Before we dive back in, we hope everyone will take a moment today to reflect on everything we’ve achieved together. This victory belongs to everyone that made the sacrifices to get out and promote effective change and groundbreaking progress.
The Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force