This week’s Long Beach City Council resolved to allow more cannabis dispensing pharmacies and delivery-only marijuana operations, but urged staff to understand how to pay for the expanded program without tax increases.
“It could potentially undermine the business we’re trying to lift,” city councilman Al Austin said of the rejected tax increase. “That’s my real concern.”
The city’s social equity program was created in 2018 to help those targeted by cannabis-related crimes benefit from legalization.
The ordinance will allow eight more clinics to operate on Long Beach, limited to those who qualify for the equity program.
To determine these eight new business owners, city officials will run a merit-based lottery. This means that applicants will first go through an interview process and then randomly select eligible candidates. However, the process was also questioned by members of the council, and some sought a lottery-free process.
To qualify, equity applicants must meet one of the following requirements:
- The family’s annual income was less than 80% of the median for the region last year.
- Net worth is less than $ 250,000.
- The majority of residents lived in the Long Beach Census Zone, which earns less than 80% of the region’s median income, for three years or were arrested for cannabis crime before November 8, 2016. ..
- Residents receiving unemployment allowance.
Of the 32 clinics on Long Beach, none are owned by the stock applicant, according to staff presentations.
“The cannabis sector lacks diversity,” local cannabis business owner Carlos Zepeda said at a meeting on Tuesday night, October 12.
On the other hand, legalizing a delivery-only business could allow more equity applicants to enter the industry by eliminating the need to secure real estate in the cannabis-sorted town area. Said the staff report.Cannabis can already be delivered at Long Beach, but pharmacies perform those operations
However, the original proposal was that Long Beach would raise the cannabis business license tax by 0.25%, staff reports to help increase the cost of expansion.
Elliot Lewis, CEO of Catalyst Cannabis in Long Beach, said:
The council agreed and refused to raise taxes.
Instead, delivery-only cannabis businesses are taxed in the same way as medical and adult pharmacies, staff reports read. This is 6% of total medical sales revenue and 8% of total adult sales revenue.
Meanwhile, staff look for grants and other sources of funding to pay for the expansion of the program.
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