Los Angeles Misses Out on Recreational Marijuana Sales in California

134 marijuana businesses were approved in California as of Wednesday. But the city of Los Angeles is still scrambling to license its first recreational marijuana retailer.

It’s hard to believe. But the single largest market in California, Los Angeles, has yet to license first recreational marijuana retailer. And it’s not just the City of Angels that is missing out on the economic boom. Many other cities have also taken their time drafting regulations and permissions.

Fresno and Riverside counties have prohibited all recreational and medicinal cannabis sales.

Slow Pace Infuriates Marijuana Business Owners

Some marijuana business owners are fed up with city officials. They argue that they are missing out on huge amounts of income, as they watch customers flock to competitors in neighboring cities. The city of Los Angles has clearly stated that timing is not the number one priority. They are more intent on getting the recreational marijuana regulations right, rather than being first.

This stance by the city has done little to appease business owners like Jerred Kiloh. Kiloh is the owner of the Higher Path on Ventura Blvd. He estimates that he is losing as many as 150 customers and $10,000 a day. This is based on the average $65 spent in recreational dispensaries so far. Kiloh says,

“Being first to market is important in any industry, but especially in this industry right now, we lose market share every day…We are fighting huge losses and I don’t think anybody really cares.”

California’s City Council did not start accepting applications until Jan. 3. These were also only applications from the roughly 200 shops that have been selling marijuana legally to customers with a prescription. When the legalization of marijuana began in California on Jan. 1, the city’s online registration system was overrun with activity. It was filled with bugs and broken links. Shop owners say for a short time, they could only click through to a dummy form. The application was hard to find.

Emotions are certainly running high as Kiloh states,

“It’s become emotional for a lot of people because now we are fighting for our lives and businesses.”
recreational marijuana Los Angeles California
Jerred Kiloh, president of the United Cannabis Business Association and owner of The Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary – Robyn Beck / AFP – Getty Images file

‘We’re not trying to win a race’

Cata Packer, the Cannabis Department first executive director previously said she imagined “there would be ’10 to 30 businesses’ with the needed city authorizations within a ‘week or two’ after the Jan. 3 kickoff date.”

It seems her estimations were completely off, but she remains firm when speaking about the cities goals. Packer says,

“We’re not trying to win a race — we’re here to get this right,”

she continued to say,

“We are implementing a brand new process, and verification of our first set of applicants has taken longer than anticipated. We’re going to continue to do what’s necessary to ensure the fair, thorough process that Angelenos expect and deserve.”