Come January in LA…

By Cara Anderson
IG: @carajojo

Photo via @marleynatural

Come January, Los Angeles will be the largest recreational cannabis city in the United States. LA’s city council voted on Wednesday to allow cultivation and sales in non-residential areas. Cultivators and dispensaries have a little under one month to get everything in line.

“The other cities in this nation, they are looking to L.A.,” City Council President Herb Wesson told LA ABC7. It’s likely that legislation in other large cities such as New York City, will take notes from LA. The time-crunched execution from business owners will definitely serve as a lesson for other future cannabis business owners, as well.

It can take months for cannabis business hopefuls to file the proper paperwork necessary for permits and licensing. These hopefuls will have to apply for local permits, and upon those approvals, canna-businesses will then have to apply for state licenses. It’s an intense and expensive process. Dispensaries are required to have proof of background checked employees (with no felonies), proof of legal sources for the goods they’ll be selling, and proof of a deposit, ownership, or downpayment of their proposed location. In addition, the location must not interfere with sensitive use areas such as daycares, schools, and treatment centers, to name a few.

We spoke to a woman that will be working at a dispensary in Lemon Grove. The woman, who chooses to stay anonymous, had to do a Live Scan fingerprinting this week as part of her job application.

“The notary was curious about the process. He asked some important questions like how the dispensary will manage their money if banks aren’t accepting cannabis businesses.”

Security is a huge issue.

She added, “The man wanted to know if I was afraid to work at the dispensary. I honestly don’t feel afraid, but it seemed like he was disappointed with my response. Like, when people want you to be afraid, you know? His disappointment is neither here nor there, but I did find it a bit presumptuous and his inquiry seemed to be based on the fact that I’m a woman. He referenced to me as a “girl” and didn’t know about security measures that dispensaries have to take.”

The required security measures are just as extensive as the previously mentioned paperwork. According to AEGIS Security, in order to comply with Prop 64, California dispensaries must have surveillance cameras, on-site security, and remote monitoring of said surveillance cameras.

“It makes sense, I guess, a lot of people don’t know the lengths that dispensaries are taking to ensure safety! My employers are taking the proper steps to open a legitimate and legal business. The dispensary will have a security system. I feel fine about it. Plus, no cash is allowed on premises overnight in Lemon Grove dispensaries.” – Anonymous Dispensary Employee

To circle back, the questions that the notary posed are indeed important; the safety of cannabis business employees is as crucial as the safety of patrons and people living near the dispensaries. Studies, which we reported on last month, show that the opening of legal dispensaries, in fact, causes a decrease in crime.

In a study published on March 26, 2014, a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas reported that cannabis legalization appeared to be associated with a reduction in violent crimes such as homicide and assault.“ – Benjie Cooper

Read the full report, Crime May Slow Where Cannabis Flows.

The reduction of crime is associated with the security measures that are legally required of dispensaries. In 2016, Southern California Public Radio reported that Los Angeles’ violent crime rates were rising. As more legal dispensaries and related businesses open brick and mortar locations, there are projections that the increase in street visibility, the implementation of security cameras, on-site security guards, and the introduction of floodlights will lower violent crimes.

This is an exciting time for the metropolis of LA. It will be interesting to see how many businesses end up opening in LA come New Years Day, as well as to see the societal effects after recreational businesses are installed.

Do you know any businesses that are applying for permits in Los Angeles, or are set to open shop come January 1st? Let’s hear it in the comments!