Individual Verification 

2022 Individual Verification Window
How to Obtain Verification
Phase 3 Retail Round 2
Resources
Miscellaneous

Introduction

The City of Los Angeles is one of the few jurisdictions in the United States addressing the inequitable impacts of prior cannabis criminalization by developing and implementing policies that focus on equity in cannabis policy reform. The Department of Cannabis Regulation’s (DCR) Social Equity Program (SEP) is one tool the City of Los Angeles is using to acknowledge and repair the harm caused by the War on Drugs and the unequal enforcement of cannabis laws in the past.

The Social Equity Program focuses on the inclusion and support of individuals in the City’s legal cannabis market who may be from communities that were negatively or disproportionately impacted by prior cannabis criminalization. As part of that effort, cannabis business license applications for retail, delivery and cultivation are available only for Social Equity Individual Applicants until January 1, 2025.

2022 Individual Verification Window

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation will accept Social Equity Individual Applicant verification requests from May 26, 2022 to July 25, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Verification as a Social Equity Individual Applicant is required to submit an application for certain commercial cannabis activity types. An individual must be verified as a Social Equity Individual Applicant before they may submit a Social Equity Application for a cannabis business license to conduct retail, non-retail delivery, and cultivation activity.

There are seven general activity types:

  • Storefront Retail (not currently available, but DCR will accept applications after conducting a lottery in late 2022)*
  • Non-storefront delivery to consumers
  • Cultivation (application for license types with canopy are not currently accepted)
  • Volatile Manufacturing (not currently accepted)
  • Non-Volatile Manufacturing
  • Distribution between businesses
  • Testing

*For individuals who were previously verified as Social Equity Individual Applicants in 2019 and who wish to participate in the Phase 3 Retail Round 2 lottery for retail licenses, you will need to be verified again under the updated criteria and have a California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction in order to register for the lottery. An arrest, prosecution or conviction for a violation of Proposition D is not a California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction.

How to Obtain Verification

CONGRATULATIONS! You are taking the first steps to become a Social Equity Individual Applicant

The verification process ensures that applicants are vetted to participate in the Department of Cannabis Regulation’s license application process as a Social Equity Individual Applicant under LAMC 104.20(b)(1). The eligibility criteria for verification has changed since it was last implemented in 2019. For example, in 2020, revisions were made to definitions for “Low-Income” and “Disproportionately Impacted Areas,” among other changes. To be verified for non-retail applications, you must satisfy two of the three following criteria:

PROVE ARREST OR CONVICTION by providing at least one court or government document. - Physical copy of the ticket or citation - A court docket referencing your arrest conviction - A letter of expungement from the jurisdiction who expunged your cannabis conviction or arrest record

Cannabis arrest or conviction* in California for any crime relating to the sale, possession, use, manufacture or cultivation of Cannabis that occurred prior to November 8, 2016.

*An arrest, prosecution or conviction for a violation of Proposition D is not a California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction.
 

Real life examples: - I filed as married filing separately. - My household size is 2 people. - Gross income is $70,000. - Followed link to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report. - Report states threshold is $75,700. - $75,000 times 4 equals $300,000. - All assets totaled $250,000.

or qualify as Low Income in the 2020 or 2021 calendar year. "Low-Income" means both of the following definitions are met: (1) the Social Equity Individual Applicant meets the low-income thresholds established in the annual U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income limits based upon the Area Median Income (AMI) for Los Angeles County based on household size; AND (2) the Social Equity Individual Applicant does not have Assets in excess of four times the AMI amount for their household.

Phase 3 Retail Round 2

In order to participate in the Phase 3 Retail Round 2 lottery you must be verified as a Social Equity Individual Applicant* with:

  • a qualifying California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction** prior to November 8, 2016 AND
  • either 10 years of cumulative residency in a Disproportionately Impacted Area as defined by police reporting districts OR
  • qualify as Low Income in the 2020 or 2021 calendar year.

*For individuals who were previously verified as Social Equity Individual Applicants in 2019 and who wish to participate in Phase 3 Retail Round 2 lottery for retail licenses, you will need to be verified again with the updated criteria in order to qualify.

**An arrest, prosecution or conviction for a violation of Proposition D is not a California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Start collecting your documentation ASAP and planning.

Resources

The Social Equity Program has several resources for those interested in learning more about becoming a Social Equity Individual Applicant.

Social Equity Individual Applicant Verification Informational Video

For additional questions, contact DCR at dcr.sep@lacity.org or call (213) 978-0738 during business hours, 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Thursday.

Miscellaneous

If you would like to review the original or expanded Social Equity Analysis commissioned by the Los Angeles City Council, please click the links below. These reports informed the policies of the Social Equity Program and the requirements in the Los Angeles Municipal Code.

Social Equity Analysis (2017.10.18) 
Addendum to Social Equity Analysis (2017.11.16) 
Revised Cannabis Social Equity Analysis (2020.05.27)


Entity Verification 

In order to participate in certain SEP programming a Social Equity Applicant must have the requisite Equity Share and meet other related requirements established in LAMC Sections 104.20(a)(2) or 104.20(b)(2).

A Social Equity Applicant is required to comply with Equity Share requirements before a License is issued or renewed.

Click here to view the Social Equity Program - Entity Verification Information and Procedure Bulletin.