Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson has called for the suspension of the city’s cannabis licensing process, alleging that it has been “compromised” by some applicants gaining early access to the online application system, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Wesson penned a letter to the Department of Cannabis Regulation that urges the agency to stop processing applications for new cannabis retail licenses, the news outlet reported. He asked that the department refund the latest round of applicants and pursue an independent audit of the licensing process.
The department is only reviewing a limited number of applications this round, not every one that was submitted, and Wesson is also urging the agency to process every application as another avenue to ensure fairness, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Michelle Garakian, a spokeswoman for the Department of Cannabis Regulation, told the news outlet that the agency will meet with Wesson’s office soon to discuss his recommendations.
To date, Los Angeles has granted 300 licenses for cannabis retailers and their suppliers, according to The Los Angeles Times. This latest licensing round was a first-come, first-serve process for businesses to apply for up to 100 more retail licenses, the news outlet reported.
When the latest round of applications launched in September, Los Angeles received more than 300 applications within three minutes, The Los Angeles Times reported, and some stakeholders claim that some applicants got early access to the application system while others were locked out due to slow internet speeds, according to the news outlet.
Department of Cannabis Regulation Executive Director Cat Packer has indicated that while two applicants did gain early access to the system due to a staff error the occurred while resetting their passwords, those applications were pushed back in line to where they would have been otherwise, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Los Angeles received roughly 800 total applications during this licensing round, according to the news outlet, and the city still has one more upcoming round where it plans to issue 150 more retail licenses.