January 4, 2023

Cannabis Regulation Licensing

At Manzuri Law, our California cannabis attorneys provide end-to-end legal services for industry professionals throughout the state, including those in the City of Los Angeles, where licensing and compliance are controlled by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation.

This is important because, currently, all commercial cannabis business activity is prohibited in unincorporated Los Angeles County, so each incorporated city has their own unique set of cannabis business regulations. Currently, 23 cities in Los Angeles County allow at least one cannabis business type (manufacturing, distribution, retail/delivery, or cultivation), and 65 cities prohibit all cannabis business types.

As of October 2020, the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) continues to  accept new applications for delivery, distribution, non-volatile manufacturing, and testing lab license types. The City of Los Angeles also has an established  Licensing and Social Equity Program that enumerates various restrictions related to licensing and application processing and allows those that qualify to apply for various licenses, including retail dispensaries.

Here is what you need to know before applying for a cannabis business license in the City of Los Angeles.

The City of Los Angeles Requires a Pre-Application Review Process

All cannabis business license applicants in Los Angeles are required to complete the Pre-Application Review process.This first step allows the DCR to first determine location compliance and eligibility.

The Pre-Application Review  process is as follows:

  • The applicant is to submit the information required for pre-application review.
  • The DCR invoices the applicant for pre-application review.
  • The applicant pays the fee within 30 days.
  • The DCR reviews the location for compliance and eligibility.

If the applicant receives a notification of location ineligibility, they may submit a new pre-application for a different location.

If they are deemed eligible for further processing for one or more license types, the applicant is then required to complete the Temporary Approval process to receive temporary authorization to engage in commercial cannabis activity.

What Does a Temporary Approval for a Los Angeles Cannabis License Allow?

A DCR-issued temporary license authorizes an applicant to engage in the specified commercial cannabis activity, with the same privileges as non-temporary license of the same type, but for a limited time.

In addition to the DCR forms, the temporary approval process requires that the applicant submit business formation and organization documents, and an executed lease agreement, property deed, or some other evidence of the legal right to occupy the premises.  The premises must  pass a DCR and LAFD inspection before a temporary license is issued.

It’s important to note that temporary approval does not waive or otherwise circumvent other city or state requirements or necessary permits from the city, state, or other public agencies.

Do You Qualify as a Social Equity Individual Applicant?

The Los Angeles Social Equity Program focuses on the inclusion and support of individuals in the city’s legal cannabis marketplace who may have been negatively or disproportionately impacted by prior cannabis criminalization.

The Mission of the Social Equity Program is “to promote equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry in order to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities, and to address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs in those communities.”

If you believe you are eligible as a SEIA, you must submit the necessary documentation including, but not limited to, all information, business records, and agreements necessary to demonstrate that you own the minimum Equity Share required by law.

Would You Like to Apply for a Cannabis Business License in Los Angeles, California?

Contact one of our California cannabis law firm specialists today by phone at (310) 912-2960 or online to discuss your business goals, so we can help you understand and meet the criteria necessary to move forward with the stringent LA City cannabis licensing requirements successfully.

Photo by Shelby Ireland on Unsplash