Los Angeles is revamping its rules for handing out licenses to cannabis businesses, amid anger and disappointment over the tumultuous rollout of a program meant to address the damage done by criminalizing marijuana.
The rules passed unanimously Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council tighten the criteria for new applicants seeking to qualify for the “social equity” program, which is supposed to ensure that people from communities hit hardest by the war on drugs benefit from marijuana legalization.
“We all know social equity has been a failure, here in L.A. and across most jurisdictions. Too many loopholes … This is the first real hope for social equity to succeed,” Lynne Lyman, who led the Drug Policy Action campaign for the legalization of recreational cannabis in California, said at a recent city meeting on the changes.
Until now, the social equity program has broadly targeted people who have cannabis convictions or have lived in areas with disproportionate arrests for marijuana crimes, but critics said the rules were too loose. Many complained that Black entrepreneurs were underrepresented, despite the heavy toll of cannabis criminalization on Black communities.
For instance, Los Angeles previously designated the areas hit hardest by marijuana arrests by ZIP codes, looping in wealthier areas along with poorer ones that had high levels of arrests. Among the eligible ZIP codes was 90027, which includes affluent, predominantly white stretches of Los Feliz.
Now the city is narrowing the eligible areas to police reporting districts — a move that Department of Cannabis Regulation head Cat Packer said would better target the most drastically affected communities.
“We agree that this process needs improvement … and we’ve tried to make our recommendations as reflective as we can of the feedback that we received,” Packer said.
The post L.A. revamps rules for cannabis licensing, hoping to redress harm from war on drugs appeared first on L.A. Cannabis News.
Credit: Source link