Published March 8, 2019
Established in 2017, the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) is responsible for the administration of the City’s commercial cannabis licensing and regulatory program. Through coordinated efforts with local and state agencies, strengthened engagement with the public and local cannabis industry, and the continued support of the City Council and Mayor, DCR aims to promote public health and safety through the responsible and equitable implementation of cannabis policy.
Here, in our latest news bulletin, we share a variety of updates related to local cannabis laws and procedures, commercial cannabis business licensing, and the social equity program.
For more information about the Department of Cannabis Regulation and commercial cannabis licensing and regulation in the City of Los Angeles, please visit cannabis.lacity.org and subscribe to our listserv.
Phase 1 Proposition M Priority Processing
Since January 2018, DCR has granted Temporary Approval to 178 Phase 1 Proposition M Priority Processing applicants authorizing them to engage in retail and non-retail commercial cannabis activities in the City. You can find a map of these authorized Phase 1 businesses on the DCR website. In the next week, DCR expects to begin accepting annual license applications from eligible Phase 1 applicants. A detailed description of the annual licensing process can be found on the Licensing section of DCR’s website.
Phase 2 Priority Processing
For the last several months, DCR has been diligently processing applications for Phase 2 Priority Processing for non-retailer commercial cannabis activity. Among other eligibility requirements, an applicant must provide evidence that it engaged in non-retailer activities prior to 2016 and supplied an eligible Phase 1 applicant prior to 2017, and it must pass DCR and LAFD inspections. Applicants that meet the eligibility requirements for Phase 2 Priority Processing will receive Temporary Approval to engage in non-retailer commercial cannabis activities while DCR reviews their annual license applications. As of today, DCR has issued Temporary Approval to 60 applicants; this figure represents over 40% of all applicants that have reported to DCR that they are ready to have an eligibility inspection.
City of Los Angeles
Today, the Los Angeles City Council requested the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance to make several significant amendments to the City’s commercial cannabis licensing system. Chief among them is an overhaul of the application process for Phase 3 storefront retail licenses. In short, DCR will be directed to process an initial group of 100 retail storefront applicants who have been pre-verified as Tier 1 or Tier 2 Social Equity Applicants and who have secured a property for their business and meet several other requirements. DCR will then suspend further storefront retail application processing until it finishes developing business, licensing and compliance assistance programs for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Social Equity Applicants. After that programming is available, DCR will proceed with processing an additional 100 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Social Equity storefront retail applications. DCR will also be directed to launch a pilot program for delivery-only licenses that will include 40 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Social Equity Applicants and 20 non-Social Equity Applicants. A full list of the amendments and an amending motion the City Council requested can be found here and here. DCR will provide more information regarding the implementation of these amendments once the City Attorney transmits the requested ordinance to the City Council.
Also today, the City Council passed an ordinance authorizing the Department of Water and Power to shut off the utilities at unlicensed commercial cannabis businesses in the City. A copy of the ordinance can be found here.
State of California
There are a number of bills currently being debated in Sacramento that will impact the cannabis industry in Los Angeles. DCR is closely following all of these bills that span a wide range of topics from banking access and tax deductions to social equity and establishing a cannabis research program.
Over the course of the last year, the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) has both participated in and hosted a number of meetings and workshops to connect with the many stakeholders involved in, or impacted by, local cannabis policies. In addition to having participated in dozens of community meetings and industry events, DCR has also organized workshops dedicated to applicants and licensees. To further expand our outreach and engagement, DCR is planning on a series of workshops throughout 2019 focused on equity, licensing, and community concerns. We are also continuing to coordinate with the Cannabis Regulation Commission in holding public hearings as appropriate to receive public comment and conduct licensing determinations.
DCR Licensing Workshop
On January 22, DCR held a licensing workshop for Phase 1 applicants. DCR and other City staff provided an overview of DCR’s annual licensing process and answered applicants’ questions.
North American Cannabis Summit
DCR staff served on the steering committee of the North American Cannabis Summit, which took place January 28 - 30 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, hosted by Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. On the first day, DCR Executive Director Cat Packer spoke at a session with keynote speaker, Shaleen Title, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of establishing jurisdictional social equity programs. Ms. Title is the Cannabis Control Commissioner of Massachusetts, which is currently the only state in the nation to incorporate a social equity component into its regulation of the statewide commercial cannabis industry. For a recap of the summit, see the report from the Boston Globe and Cannabis Wire. Visit the conference website to learn how to view the plenary session videos.
Cannabis Regulation Commission Meeting
On February 28, the Cannabis Regulation Commission met and heard several reports from the Executive Director of DCR concerning the status of Phase 1 and Phase 2 application processing, the development and implementation of the Social Equity Program and the status of the City’s enforcement efforts against unlicensed commercial cannabis businesses in the City. The Commission also heard public comment from dozens of stakeholders who shared a wide variety of perspectives on the City’s licensing and regulation of commercial cannabis activity. An audio recording of the Commission’s meeting is found here.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control recently published two new fact sheets as resources for those seeking information regarding the Cannabis Retailer (Storefront and Non-Storefront) license types. These documents have been uploaded to the California Cannabis Portal’s “General Resources” section and can be accessed by clicking these links:
Cannabis Retailer (Storefront) Fact Sheet
Cannabis Retailer (Non-Storefront) Fact Sheet
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently published some updated resources to help clarify the packaging and labeling requirements for cannabis and cannabis products.
You can find all three updated fact sheets, including a comprehensive packaging and labeling FAQ guide, by clicking here.
-To lodge a complaint about any cannabis activity - licensed or unlicensed - in the City of Los Angeles, please use DCR’s complaint portal, which also can be found at cannabis.lacity.org.
-To get the latest information from the Department of Cannabis Regulation, go to the homepage, then fill out the “Sign Up for Email Alerts” form at the bottom.