Long Beach is looking into offering eight additional licenses for cannabis dispensaries in hopes of diversifying those who own and run them.
A unanimous vote by the City Council on Tuesday initiates an analysis by the city to determine what a permitting process would like if the council officially creates more licenses for dispensaries. A voter-approved ordinance in 2016 capped the number of dispensaries at 32, all of which have opened or are in the permitting process.
The city hopes to attract more “equity” owners—those who have lower incomes, live in underserved parts of town or have prior criminal records tied to cannabis—who qualify for assistance under the city’s cannabis equity program to attain ownership in the city’s burgeoning industry.
The city has a process that offers up to $235,000 in grants to qualifying applicants. However, out of hundreds of applications, only one equity owner has advanced to the final round of permitting and the city has yet to approve a retail license for a Black-owned dispensary, according to the city.
It can cost upward of $1 million to open a dispensary in Long Beach, according to city officials.
That’s why Councilman Al Austin requested the item Tuesday