Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation Partners with Accela to Launch Online Application Submission Capability for Cannabis Social Equity Program

The govtech giant and Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation provide a blueprint for cities and states across the country with a cloud technology rollout for the nation's largest cannabis market's business license application process.

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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- PRESS RELEASE -- Accela, a provider of cloud-based solutions for government, has announced the launch of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR)'s new Social Equity Program license application, powered by Accela technology. The Social Equity Program provides priority application processing and other business development services to individuals impacted by past cannabis enforcement and the war on drugs. The successful launch was made possible by Accela's technology that supported DCR's administration of extensive community and stakeholder engagement and education regarding the commercial cannabis licensing process. The joint effort was able to satisfy the licensing demands of one of the world's largest cannabis markets without issue, serving as a roadmap for cities and states across the country faced with similar opportunities to acknowledge and address the harms of past disparate enforcement of cannabis laws through the development and implementation of licensing equity programs.

"DCR is pleased to work with Accela, as they exceeded expectations in collaborating with our staff to rapidly design and implement the application infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of the Department and, more importantly, our Social Equity Program applicants," said DCR Executive Director Cat Packer. "Accela's staff was flexible and accommodating in meeting the needs of our ever-evolving licensing process and various pressing deadlines, and we're looking forward to continuing our collaboration as we rollout future licensing phases."

Many cities and states are now looking for ways to tackle the historical injustices of cannabis prohibition and its enforcement by centering equity in various policies and programs. DCR's Cannabis Social Equity Program was developed to address the disproportionate social and economic impacts of criminalization and ensure that those unduly impacted are not left out of the ever-growing legal cannabis industry, which is expected to reach $7.2 Billion by 2024 in California alone, according to a report from BDS Analytics. In February 2017, Accela was selected by the State of California to build the statewide cannabis licensing platform following a successful launch of the Accela cannabis solution in Denver, Colo.

"Accela is thrilled to be part of the city of Los Angeles' groundbreaking efforts to serve every citizen and build a thriving community using modern technology," says Greg Felix, Accela's Vice President of Emerging Regulatory Solutions. "Our collaboration with DCR on their new cannabis Social Equity Program is a milestone in terms of what government and technology can achieve together to empower every citizen with the ability to participate in the booming cannabis industry."

Accela's robust and proven cloud technology was essential in ensuring the success of the largest Social Equity Program launch of its kind thus far. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council amended local cannabis ordinances to require that DCR prioritize the review of retail and delivery commercial cannabis license applications from individuals pre-verified as Social Equity Applicants. To help prepare prospective Social Equity Applicants, both for the pre-verification process and the application for priority processing, DCR engaged in a tremendous educational effort which included five city-wide community workshops and over 200 one-on-one clinics. Due to the hard work of DCR leadership and staff, over 1,600 individuals were verified as eligible to participate in the first of a series of upcoming commercial cannabis license application processes.

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, DCR began to accept applications for the much-awaited and highly-anticipated first-come, first-served application process whereby a total of 100 pre-verified Social Equity Program Applicants will be selected for further processing and be among the first to market in one of the world's most sought-after commercial markets.

Within the first 20 minutes of the application window opening, 650 applications were submitted. Accela's cloud technology was able to manage the extremely high volume of applicants going through the application process simultaneously, enabling a successful application process. Following the completion of the application window on Sept. 17, 2019, DCR is now moving forward in its application review process and anticipates providing notice to eligible and successful applicants on a rolling basis starting in early October 2019.

Today's announcement comes on the heels of Accela's recent momentum in the cannabis regulatory space. In June and July 2019, respectively, Accela partnered with CloudPWR and Kind Financial to create an end-to-end cannabis ecosystem to provide state and local governments with support at every stage of the regulatory process. To learn more about Accela's solutions for cannabis regulation, please visit: https://www.accela.com/solutions/cannabis-regulation/.