The Los Angeles, California City Council has approved regulations for the adult-use cannabis industry which include social equity provisions, rules for operating a retail shop without a license and restrictions on where cannabis businesses can be located, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The social equity rules require regulators to process two social-equity applications for retail dispensaries for every general operator; the ratio for cultivators and manufacturers is one-for-one.
Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, called the city’s equity program “the most aggressive and the most progressive and most just” anywhere in the U.S. The provisions require business owners to meet certain criteria, such as low-income status, or being located in an area with a disproportionate number of cannabis-related arrests.
A city analysis found that those most affected communities include south, central, and downtown Los Angeles; Watts; and East Hollywood.
“It is 84 years and one day since the United States instituted prohibition on alcohol, cannabis and a host of other drugs. The express purpose of those policies was to control unruly negro men in the South. In 1970, Richard Nixon expanded and instituted what we referred to as the War on Drugs to control the Black Panther party, activists, blacks and anti-war hippies. And cities and states across the country have been doing that, carrying out that policy, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly.” – Councilman Harris-Dawson
Under the rules, current operators would be given first crack at licenses in the first 60 days of licensing, so long as they apply for “provisional licenses” which will be available at the start of 2018, according to the report. The regulations also call for $20,000-per-day fines for retail non-licensed operators and call for misdemeanor penalties carrying a $1,000 fine, and/or six months in jail. Dispensaries are also required to have a 700-foot buffer from parks, libraries, schools, and daycares, while the “sensitive-use” buffer for cultivators, manufacturers, and delivery services is set at 600-feet.