The city has begun the process of screening cannabis business license applications. According to a city press release, WeHo is seeking unique, innovative, and one-of-a-kind cannabis businesses to join West Hollywood’s vibrant urban fabric and economy. The application process opened on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 and runs through Thursday, May 31, 2018.
The City of West Hollywood is one of the only cities in the State granting business licenses for consumption areas, where cannabis can be purchased and consumed on-site. Details regarding the screening application process are available at www.weho.org/cannabis.
In November 2017, the City Council of the City of West Hollywood passed an Ordinance to regulate cannabis business and land uses and in April 2018 the City Council approved amendments to the Ordinance. This follows the passage in 2016 of California Prop. 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and in 2017 of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
The City of West Hollywood’s Ordinance allows eight cannabis use business licenses in the following five categories, for a total of 40 licenses:
Eight (8) Adult-Use Retail Business Licenses;
Eight (8) Consumption Area (smoking, vaping, ingestion) with On-site Adult-Use Retail (sales of products to be consumed on-site) Business Licenses;
Eight (8) Consumption Area (edible ingestion only) with On-Site Adult-Use Retail (sales of products to be consumed on-site) Business Licenses;
Eight (8) Medical-Use Dispensary Business Licenses; and,
Eight (8) business licenses for cannabis delivery services located in West Hollywood. There is no limit on the amount of business licenses issued for cannabis delivery services that are located outside the City limits and deliver cannabis to customers within the City of West Hollywood.
The business license screening application process uses a merit-based approach. The process starts with all interested applicants submitting an screening application to the City, which will include information about the applicant’s ownership/management team, proposed business plan, design concept, security plan, and experience. Applicants do not need to have secured a physical location to submit a screening application. Each screening application will be reviewed and scored by an independent five-member Application Evaluation Committee appointed by the City Manager, based on 58 specific criteria in the general categories of innovation, connection to West Hollywood, operations, social equity, product offerings, design concept, security plan, and past experience.
After the Application Evaluation Committee has reviewed and scored all the screening applications, the top eight scoring applicants in each category will be allowed to move forward with obtaining a business license from the City; applicants are allowed 12 months to secure their City business license. The first step for the selected applicants will be to secure a physical location for their business. Once an applicant has secured a physical location, that applicant will need to obtain the appropriate planning permits from the City’s Current and Historic Preservation Planning Division, affirming that the proposed use is permitted within the zoning for the property. After obtaining planning permits the applicant will have a hearing before the Business License Commission in which the commission will approve or deny issuance for the business license and set any necessary conditions on the business. During the same time the applicant is also encouraged to apply for any necessary Building and Safety permits needed to make improvements to the property. Finally, prior to operation of the business, the applicant will also need to secure a State of California cannabis license.
Currently, there are four Medical-Use Dispensaries in the City of West Hollywood, which have received Temporary Use Permits (TUPs) for Adult-Use Retail sales at their current locations on a temporary basis as the City goes through the screening application process. These establishments are:
Alternative Herbal Health Services (AHHS) 7828 Santa Monica Boulevard;
The Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group (LAPCG) 7213 Santa Monica Boulevard;
MedMen WeHo 8208 Santa Monica Boulevard; and
Zen Healing, 8464 Santa Monica Boulevard.
People who wish to purchase Adult-Use cannabis must be at least 21 years old; people who wish to fulfill a Medical-Use prescription from a medical doctor must be at least 18 years old (with a valid physician’s recommendation, proof of California residency and proof of age). Smoking, vaping, or ingesting cannabis is not permitted in public places. Landlords are permitted to forbid cannabis use on their property and tenants who require medicinal cannabis and have a prescription may ask landlords for reasonable accommodations under state law. Despite California law, Federal law still views cannabis as a controlled substance, even for medical use. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are provided on the City’s website at www.weho.org/cannabis.
For more information about the screening applications process for cannabis business licenses, visit the City’s cannabis webpage weho.org/cannabis.