Nestled among the good news goodies in Marijuana Moment’s deep dive into results of election day, "Lesser-Known Marijuana Votes You Might Have Missed On Election Day" is a little blurb about our home town of Los Angeles.
A story on the train wreck that is the LA-cannabis-regulatory “system” was high on our To Do list today, and this snippet leaves the door open:
“Los Angeles voters rejected a measure that would have established a public bank in the city, 58-42 percent. The measure was designed to mitigate some of the difficulties that cannabis businesses face when dealing with traditional financial institutions, as well as provide financing for affordable housing initiatives.”
We highlighted the last line for a reason. It sure stands out against the backdrop of an emerging industry, doesn’t it? As in, why is the cannabis industry being tied to (weighed down by) affordable housing in a city with an epic homeless/housing crisis?
TBH, we feel badly for Cat Packer. A massively qualified individual (BA, Master’s Degree and Law Degree), she was placed at the helm of the LA’s Department of Cannabis Regulation as its Executive Director and General Manager (the weight of bureaucracy even bleeds on job titles in DTLA), and immediately made her goal clear: social equity, social equity, social equity.
Yet while social equity is the focus of the new DSR, the largest city market in the largest state market (CA is the 5th largest economy in the world, behind the country of Germany, and ahead of Great Britain) is floundering like a whale that lurched onto Venice Beach.
Licensing is slow, forcing hundreds of illegal operators to operate (and flourish) to meet demand, which means tax revenues simply cannot be as high as could be, and the overall regulatory structure is sagging. In short, as reported in MJBiz Daily: “Marijuana companies are fleeing Los Angeles, a setback for what is arguably the biggest cannabis market in the world.”
What's the (inevitable) result of all this kink-up? As Kai Rissdal tells us on our drive home: let's do the numbers:
"Cannabis sales continue to be affected by over-regulation, high taxes and the fact that most cities in California still do not permit marijuana sales, according to Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
While LA is wah-wah’ing like Charlie Brown’s teacher, Nevada is punishing its rosiest projections, Oregon is producing so much its market can’t absorb it all, and Colorado has turned $1Billion in sales in record time.
What’s killing LA? Could be mission-over-reality approach, or it could be that competing interests have declared LA to be ground-zero in the battles for medicine, recreation, healthy food, lubricants, plastic, fabric, and the thousand other things cannabis, including hemp, can be used for. In that fight, Cat Power doesn’t stand a chance.
We are proud and supportive that social equity is baked deeply into the cake that is the legal cannabis industry in LA. But while we applaud this critical leadership in theory, its execution has mucked up the works.
Fight fire with fire, Cat Packer! Use your mind and talents and help us push ALL forward.