Fed Up With Delays, Some Marijuana Businesses Are Leaving Los Angeles
With a brand new industry like legal marijuana, there were bound to be some hiccups along the way. But many marijuana businesses are no longer willing to wait.
Marijuana Business Daily reports that dozens of cannabis companies are reportedly leaving the City of Los Angeles because they can’t get the licenses they need operate. Growers, edible makers, and dispensary owners are heading north to places like Oakland where it’s easier to go legit.
By the end of April, there were 139 companies with marijuana business licenses in Los Angeles. Many of them are longstanding, vertically integrated companies that also have state licenses for manufacturing or cultivation. And even some of those companies are barely thriving.
“There’s not a lot of operators in L.A. that are flush and doing well right now, whether licensed or unlicensed,” said Adam Spiker, the executive director of the Los Angeles-based Southern California Coalition. “You could call it the new gray area. The gray area before was operating under (the state’s previous medical marijuana law) but against local policy. But now, the new gray area is operating in the transition to regulation. I mean, that’s what this really is.”
If the city can’t get more companies up and running legitimately, and fast, Spiker believes many will go under or sell off.
“And then you have a bunch of outside money controlling big chunks of L.A. And I don’t think that’s good for anyone.”
It’s even harder for the suppliers. They haven’t gotten licenses from the city yet. It’s not clear when they will. Questions about the next phase of licensing go unanswered, perhaps because the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation only has four employees.
“I look at next year as crunch time. So, if seven or eight months from now we’re in the same place, this is a massive problem,” said Ariel Clark, the chairwoman of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force.
For some, even that is too long.