Why Los Angeles Cannabis Businesses May Lose Licenses
At least 57 licensed cannabis companies in Los Angeles are poised to see their business permits yanked by city authorities at the end of the year – with no obvious way to get the licenses reinstated.
The licensees in question – which appear to be a mixture of retailers, distributors and perhaps other business types – represent roughly 14% of the 418 marijuana business permits issued to date by the city, according to the L.A. Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR).
Although the City Council has a motion pending to give the 57 companies a lifeline, the council is in recess until Jan. 8.
So it’s unclear if the Council would be able to act in time to save the businesses. But even the Council motion itself warns that all of the companies might be forced “out of business” next month.
The situation has many business owners “frantic,” said Jerred Kiloh, president of the L.A.-based United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA).
“They’re so scared, they don’t know what to do,” Kiloh said, adding that many of the 57 are UCBA members that have been running L.A. dispensaries for more than a decade.
“This is everything people have. These are mom-and-pop shops that have no ability to come back from this.”
At issue is those companies’ annual license renewal applications and fees for 2021, which were due Nov. 2.
The vast majority of licensed cannabis companies in the city paid and got their paperwork in on time, but at least 57 failed to do so.
Under current city law – which was put in place in July 2020 – there’s no way to grant the businesses extra time.
After Dec. 31, 2020, all 57 licensees “will be required to cease operations and will not be allowed to engage in commercial cannabis activity until a new application is submitted to DCR and a new temporary approval or license is issued.”
So it appears all 57 will have to start from square one in applying for both local and state permits, a process that could take months, or even years, before those businesses can reopen.
At the moment, there appears to be little that can be done to avert the closures.
“Late renewals and/or reinstatement would require the City Council to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code,” the DCR spokesperson wrote.
The DCR declined to release the names of the businesses whose licenses are at risk.