Cannabis Trade Organizations Sue Los Angeles Over Delivery Licenses

Two cannabis trade organizations, Southern California Coalition and the California Cannabis Couriers Association, filed a lawsuit Oct. 19 against Los Angeles over the city’s delivery licenses, according to an AP News report.

The suit, which was filed alongside Zachary Pitts, CEO of delivery service Ganja Goddess, says restrictions on the licenses have barred the plaintiffs from participating in the market until 2025, the news outlet reported. The plaintiffs are asking a judge to overturn rules approved earlier this year that gave only social equity applicants initial access to the delivery licenses.

While the lawsuit does not seek to limit social equity applicants’ access to the licenses, it is asking the court to allow other standalone delivery business to apply, according to AP News.

The lawsuit claims that the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation was initially required to issue 20 licenses to non-social equity applicants under a delivery pilot program, but that the agency never accepted applications for those licenses, the news outlet reported.

Instead, new regulations were adopted, and only social equity applicants could apply for new retail and delivery licenses until 2025, according to AP News.

Los Angeles’ cannabis licensing process has been marred with controversy since last fall, when the city launched a first-come, first-serve process in September 2019 for businesses to apply for 100 new retail licenses. After some stakeholders alleged that some of the applicants gained early access to the online application system while others were locked out due to slow internet speeds, the licensing process underwent a third-party audit, which ultimately determined that the process was fair.

In April, unsuccessful retail applicants sued the city, arguing that the licensing process was flawed.

Los Angeles City Council then unanimously approved new cannabis licensing rules in July, and while the original lawsuit was dropped in the wake of the new regulations, three new companies have filed a separate lawsuit, alleging that the new rules create a new set of issues and inequities.