One of the hot topics within the LA cannabis community is priority licensing. In this post, our LA cannabis attorneys will explain what priority licensing is within the city’s licensing schema, and who qualifies for it. A recently released survey from the State Department of Agriculture found that there were 2,718 cannabis operators in LA County interested in obtaining licensing for their business. Of course, the County of LA still has a ban in place on all cannabis activity which applies to unincorporated areas. For those operators who are located within the City, you may qualify for priority licensing if you were conducting cultivation or manufacturing within the city limits before January 1, 2016 and can prove it; or, if you are a dispensary and can show a valid 2016 or 2017 BTRC for your place of business. You can read more about what evidence you can use to qualify for priority here and more about LA's zoning requirements here. In other words, you don't have to have been around for centuries, as long as you can show continuous operation from the past 21 months and meet the City's other requirements.
Dispensary owners in particular often ask if they need to be “Pre-ICO” to qualify for Priority Licensing under Measure M. The short answer is no. Pre-ICO stands for pre-Interim Control Ordinance and the particular ordinance referred to was adopted by the LA City Council in 2009. Under Measure M, you do not need to show that you were operating in 2006 or 2007, in fact, all you need to show is a BTRC from 2015, 2016 or 2017 (and the correct zoning), which is much more inclusive than 2013’s Proposition D. Therefore, even if you are not on the list of 134 from way back when, you can still qualify for Priority Licensing, as long as you have a BTRC from one of the required years, and your building is in the correct zoning. If you want to read more about the specific requirements you can do so here.
Have other questions on Priority Licensing? Email us to speak to one of our LA cannabis lawyers.