WEST HOLLYWOOD—The city of West Hollywood has started screening applications for cannabis business licenses to join West Hollywood’s economy. The application process started on Wednesday, May 2 and runs through Thursday, May 31. According to a news release from the city of West Hollywood, the City is one of the only cities in California granting business licenses for consumption areas, where cannabis can be purchased and consumed on-site. Details regarding the screening application process are available at www.weho.org/cannabis.

In November 2017, WeHo City Council passed an Ordinance to regulate cannabis business and land uses and in April 2018, the city council approved amendments to the Ordinance. This follows the passage in 2016 of California Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and in 2017 of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.

West Hollywood’s Ordinance allows eight cannabis use business licenses in the following five categories, for a total of 40 licenses:

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

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

-Eight (8) Consumption Area (edible ingestion 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.

The business license screening application process utilizes a merit-based approach. The process starts with all applicants submitting a screening application to the city, which will include information about the applicant’s ownership/management team, proposed business plan, design concept, security plan, and experience. Applicants do not need a secured physical location to submit a screening application. Each screening application will be reviewed and scored by an independent five-member Application Evaluation Committee appointed by the City Manager, 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.

Once the Application Evaluation Committee has reviewed and scored all the screening applications, the top eight scoring applicants in each category can move forward with obtaining a business license from the city; applicants are given 12 months to secure their city business license. The first step will be to secure a physical location for their business. Once an applicant has secured a physical location, they 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.

After planning permits are obtained for the applicant they will have a hearing before the Business License Commission in which the commission will approve or deny issuance for the business license and set any necessary conditions on the business. During the same time, the applicant is urged to apply for any necessary Building and Safety permits needed to make improvements to the property. The last step prior to operation of the business, the applicant will need to secure a State of California cannabis license.

There are four Medical-Use Dispensaries in West Hollywood, which have received Temporary Use Permits (TUPs) for Adult-Use Retail sales at their current locations on a temporary basis as the city goes through the screening application process. These establishments are:

-Alternative Herbal Health Services (AHHS) 7828 Santa Monica Boulevard;

-The Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group (LAPCG) 7213 Santa Monica Boulevard;

-MedMen WeHo 8208 Santa Monica Boulevard; and

-Zen Healing, 8464 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Individuals who wish to purchase Adult-Use cannabis must be at least 21 years old; those who wish to fulfill a Medical-Use prescription from a medical doctor must be at least 18 years old (with a valid physician’s recommendation, proof of California residency and proof of age). Smoking, vaping, or ingesting cannabis is not permitted in public places.

Landlords are allowed to forbid cannabis use on their property and tenants who require medicinal cannabis and have a prescription can ask landlords for reasonable accommodations under state law. Federal law still regards cannabis as a controlled substance, even for medical use. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available on city’s website at www.weho.org/cannabis.