Equity Dispensary Feasibility Study
The City Council directed staff to conduct a study on the feasibility of allowing up to an additional eight (8) retail licenses made exclusive to equity applicants. The City currently has a maximum total of 32 dispensaries operating within the City. This would bring the total number of dispensaries to 40.
You can read the full motion from the Long Beach City Council here.
Thank You! The Office of Cannabis Oversight surveyed and met with cannabis businesses, community members, and the public to share input about licensing and regulating equity dispensary businesses in Long Beach. The information we collected will be part of the report presented to the City Council on ways the City of Long Beach can expand equity opportunities with the addition of new equity-owned retail dispensary businesses.
Watch the Community Meeting video here.
Staff is currently compiling all research and policy options for licensing and administering equity-owned retail dispensaries. Once the report has been finalized, it will be released to the City Council in September.
Laws & Regulations
The City currently licenses up to 32 dispensaries within City boundaries. Dispensaries must obtain both a medical and adult-use license. The regulations for dispensaries can be found in LBMC 5.90 & LBMC 5.92.
Dispensaries are also required to get a State license from the Bureau of Cannabis Control.
Dispensaries are traditional retail storefronts that sell cannabis to customers. Dispensaries in Long Beach also have the option to perform delivery to customers.
See LBMC Chapter 5.92 for more information and requirements on dispensaries in Long Beach.
Dispensaries in Long Beach are the most profitable business type, with lower barriers to entry than other cannabis businesses, such as cultivation and manufacturing.
At the time the adult-use cannabis ordinance was passed, the maximum number of dispensaries in the City was capped at 32, with no possible path to licensure for equity applicants. All dispensaries operating in the City today are non-equity applicants.
By allowing equity applicants to obtain dispensary licenses, it affords them the same opportuity that non-equity applicants were given, and helps to level the playing field in the cannabis industry in Long Beach.
To date, the City has taken the following actions regarding dispensaries:
- November 2016 - Long Beach voters place Measure MM on the ballot, which allowed for medical cannabis businesses to operate in Long Beach.
- November 8, 2016 - Measure MM passed by the Long Beach voters, creating Long Beach Municipal Code Chapter 5.90.
- September 28, 2017 - The City held a public lottery to determine which dispensary applications were eligible to proceed through the City's licensing process.
- August 13, 2018 - Long Beach Municipal Code Chapter 5.92 goes into effect, allowing for the licensing and regulation of adult-use cannabis businesses.
- August 5, 2020 - Staff released a memo to the City Council on equity business ownership opportunities, which included adding additional dispensary licenses.
- March 16, 2021 - The City Council directed staff to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of allowing up to 8 additional dispensay licenses exclusive to equity applicants.
- July 16, 2021 - The survey was open to public comment by the Long Beach community to provide feedback on dispensary policy issues for consideration by the City Council.
- July 28, 2021 - The Office of Cannabis Oversight hosted a community meeting to collect feedback on dispensary policy issues under consideration by the City Council.
- July 30, 2021 - The dispensary policy survey closed with 135 responses.