The City of West Hollywood completed its screening application process for cannabis business licenses and the City has announced its top-scoring cannabis business license applicants. There are 36 top-scoring applicants in five unique business license categories. In addition, four licenses in the Medical Dispensary category are granted to the existing four medical dispensaries in West Hollywood. The City of West Hollywood’s Ordinance regulating cannabis business and land uses allows for a total of 40 licenses.
The approvals process makes the City of West Hollywood one of the only cities in the country to grant business licenses for consumption lounges, where cannabis can be purchased and consumed on-site. A downloadable Top-Scoring Applicants document (PDF) has been made available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/cannabis; the document contains detailed profiles, photos, and descriptions of top-scoring applicants. The webpage also contains extensive background information about cannabis in the City of West Hollywood.
The City of West Hollywood is poised to become an international trend-setter setting forth a new interpretation and realization of cannabis culture. The range of visions expressed among the approved applicants reflect an entirely new era of integrated marketplaces, consumption lounges and cafes, immersive experiences, and product delivery — all of which go far beyond current models of Medical Dispensary and Adult-Use Retail sales. West Hollywood is embracing the future of cannabis as a part of the City’s vibrant culture.
The City’s cannabis business license screening application process employed a merit-based approach. Screening applications were received by the City and were reviewed and scored by an independent five-member Application Evaluation Committee 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.
The City of West Hollywood passed its Ordinance to regulate cannabis business and land uses in November 2017 and in April 2018 the City Council approved amendments to the Ordinance. There are eight cannabis business licenses in each of five categories, totaling 40:
Eight (8) Adult-Use Retail Business Licenses;
Eight (8) Consumption Area (smoking, vaping, edibles) with On-site Adult-Use Retail (sales of products to be consumed on-site) Business Licenses;
Eight (8) Consumption Area (edibles 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 City received a total of more than 300 screening applications from more than 120 different applicants. Most applicants submitted applications in multiple categories. The eight top-scoring applicants in each category are now allowed to move forward with obtaining a business license from the City; applicants are allowed 12 months to secure a 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. During the process, 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 must secure a State of California cannabis license.
For more information, please contact John Leonard, Community and Legislative Affairs Manager for the City of West Hollywood, at (323) 848-6446 or at [email protected].