Dozens of Los Angeles marijuana businesses with permits that expired Dec. 31, 2020 will have until March to renew their licenses renewed, regulators announced. The news came days after the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation informed licensees they would not be allowed to conduct commercial marijuana business after New Year’s Eve. Our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers understand the about-face was based in large part to the widespread impact of the novel coronavirus on business owners’ abilities to pay renewal fees on time. COVID-19-related closures at the city’s finance office set things back even further.
The news impacts nearly 60 businesses with now-expired licenses.
The businesses faced a host of expensive consequences if the city chose to report them to the Los Angeles Police Department or other state agencies. Now, they will have until March 1st before such actions will be taken.
Any cannabis business struggling to comply with local or state licensing requirements or regulations should consult with an experienced Los Angeles cannabis business attorney who can help you work your way through the red tape.
In early December, a city councilman introduced a motion to give businesses until Feb. 28th to get their licenses renewed, something a DCR spokesperson said the agency supported.
L.A. Cannabis Businesses Cautiously Relieved
Response from local stakeholders in the industry was a mixed bag of relief but also trepidation. Some were quoted as saying they were grateful for the relief, but some unanswered questions remain. While the DCR has essentially said it’s going to look the other way for a few months, it’s unclear what exactly that means or whether there could still be penalties or other consequences for operating during that window unlicensed.
The DCR’s email expressly told those with expiring licenses that the agency’s decision was “in no way” meant it was abdicating its responsibilities or right to take action under local laws and regulations, and neither does it stop any other city or state agency from taking their own independent action.
Businesses that are technically operating on a local permit that is expired may be at risk of enforcement action from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. If the agency initiated an inquiry into a certain operation, city regulators would have to be honest and say the business is operating without a license. That means these businesses are still potentially at risk of some enforcement action between now and March.
The hope is that the DCR and city council is acting in good faith, given that everyone realizes little good is going to come of it if these businesses are shuttered. If instead status quo can be maintained while cannabis businesses have a fair chance to catch up, there is less likely to be legal challenges and other costly action taken.
Some operators are considering relocating, considering the permit delays, confusion and other problems they’ve encountered operating in Los Angeles. They should make sure before they do that they’ve secured proper permitting in that locality. Our Los Angeles marijuana licensing attorneys are available to help answer your questions and be your advocate.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
In reversal, L.A. says no enforcement against nearly 60 marijuana firms with expiring permits, Dec. 23, 2020, By John Schroyer, Marijuana Business Daily