Los Angeles Cannabis Entrepreneurs File Lawsuit Over Dispensary Approval Process

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Potential cannabis business owners in Los Angeles looking to open new shops are suing the city, claiming the process for applying for a license is  “flawed.”

The L.A. Times reports that the lawsuit was filed last week by the Social Equity Owners and Workers Association. They are demanding that the city vet all applications based on a first-come-first-served basis or come up with a new system that is more “equal, fair, and transparent.”

Back in September, when 100 new licenses were expected to be awarded in L.A., hundreds rushed to get in first so that their business would be considered. It has since been revealed that some started their applications before the official 10 a.m launch time. Many claimed that the process wasn’t fair and called for an audit to look more into what happened.

The audit revealed that although some people were able to start their applications early, “reasonable and appropriate” steps were taken to make sure there was no unfair advantage. Applications were reportedly pushed back in line to where they should have been, had the applicants started at the correct time. 

However, this wasn’t enough for local entrepreneurs, who claimed that the audit revealed that most applicants were told they couldn’t sign on before 10 a.m. In reality, they could; they just couldn’t submit their applications until the start time or deadline.

In response to all this, the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation issued a report that pointed out what could be changed next time. It suggests tightening criteria for the social equity program, giving priority to those who had applied and been rejected before, and allowing for more delivery and manufacturing businesses. The city has yet to approve these measures.

Although cannabis is clearly a prioritized industry in California, there has been a lot of criticism about how enforcement of legal and illegal business is handled and how licenses are given out, so this latest hiccup comes as little  surprise.

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