WEST HOLLYWOOD—West Hollywood has finished the screening application process for cannabis business licenses and announced its top-scoring cannabis business license applicants. According to the city of West Hollywood website, there are 36 applicants in five difference business license categories. In addition, four licenses in the Medical Dispensary category are granted to the existing four medical dispensaries in the region. The city of West Hollywood’s Ordinance regulating cannabis business and land uses allows for a total of 40 licenses.

The approvals process makes West Hollywood one of the only cities in the country to grant business licenses for consumption lounges, where cannabis can be purchased and consumed on-site. A downloadable Top-Scoring Applicants document (PDF) has been made available on the City’s website at www.weho.org/cannabis.

The City’s cannabis business license screening application process utilized a merit-based approach. Screening applications were received by the city and were reviewed and scored by an independent five-member Application Evaluation Committee based on 58 specific criteria in the general categories of innovation, connection to West Hollywood, operations, social equity, product offerings, design concept, security plan, and past experience. The ordinance to regulate cannabis business and land uses passed in November 2017, and amendments were approved by the City Council in April 2018. There are eight cannabis business licenses in each of five categories, totaling 40:

-Eight (8) Adult-Use Retail Business Licenses;

-Eight (8) Consumption Area (smoking, vaping, edibles) with On-site Adult-Use Retail (sales of products to be consumed on-site) Business Licenses;

-Eight (8) Consumption Area (edibles only) with On-Site Adult-Use Retail (sales of products to be consumed on-site) Business Licenses;

-Eight (8) Medical-Use Dispensary Business Licenses; and

-Eight (8) business licenses for cannabis delivery services located in West Hollywood. There is no limit on the amount of business licenses issued for cannabis delivery services that are located outside the City limits and deliver cannabis to customers within the City of West Hollywood.

Over 300 screening applications were received by more than 120 different applicants. The eight top-scoring applicants in each category are allowed to move forward with obtaining a business license from the City; applicants are allowed 12 months to secure a city business license which includes selecting a physical location for their business. Once an applicant has secured a location, that applicant will need to obtain the appropriate planning permits from the City’s Current and Historic Preservation Planning Division, affirming that the proposed use is permitted within the zoning for the property.

Once planning permits are obtained the applicant will have a hearing before the Business License, where the applicant is asked to apply for any Building and Safety permits needed to make improvements to the property. The applicant will have to secure a State of California cannabis license as a final step.

For additional details about cannabis visit the city’s website at www.weho.org/cannabis or contact John Leonard, Community and Legislative Affairs Manager for the city of West Hollywood, at (323) 848-6446 or at jleonard@weho.org. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, call TTY (323) 848-6496.