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LA Gives Initial OK for Reboot of Marijuana Marketplace

Los Angeles moved Wednesday to reboot its once-promising legal marijuana market, giving initial approval to changes large and small to expand licensing and get more assistance to operators who endured the consequences of the nation’s war on drugs.

Broad legal sales kicked off in California in 2018, and at that time Los Angeles was expected to quickly establish itself as a world-leading cannabis economy. But that never happened. Instead, robust illegal sales continue to outpace the up-and-down legal market, while businesses complain that hefty taxes and a cumbersome bureaucracy have slowed, rather than encouraged, growth.

The City Council, voting unanimously, gave preliminary approval to a series of revisions that would provide a jump in licenses for so-called social-equity applicants — people, many of color, who were arrested or convicted of a marijuana-related offense, and lower-income residents who live, or have lived, in neighborhoods marked by high marijuana arrest rates.

Only those applicants would be eligible for new retail and delivery licenses through 2025.

Other changes would allow businesses seeking licenses to quickly get temporary approval to begin operating once certain benchmarks are met, would permit businesses to relocate while being licensed and streamline the application process. [Read more at NBC Los Angeles]

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