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By David W. Myers
Managing Editor 

Big Rush for Cannabis Retail Permits

Some Hope to Get Rich from Pot Sales


October 4, 2018

Twenty-three applicants filed to obtain one of three coveted permits that Culver City officials will issue to open the first retail cannabis-selling storefronts within City boundaries.

The deadline to file completed application packages was Thursday, Sept. 27.

Though applying to get one of the three cannabis permits could be a lucrative proposition, it's also a risky one. The initial application process alone cost each applicant up to $20,000 or more to pay for Department of Justice background checks, related city services and the like, said Jesse Mays, assistant to Culver's City Manager.

The City won't reimburse losing applicants for their expenditures, meaning that 20 out of 23 would-be pot dealers will lose a lot of out-of-pocket cash.

The 23 applications will now be reviewed by a panel of three City staff members appointed by the City Manager. The panel will then select a minimum of three and a maximum of six applicants to proceed to the next step; other applications may be put on hold.

The following step consists of a panel of five City staff members, also appointed by the City Manager. They will interview each remaining applicant and will contact officials in the jurisdiction where the applicants have previously or currently operated another business, Mays said in an interview with the Observer.

If possible, a City staff member will visit the site of a business currently operated by the applicant. Those finalists will then be scored and the three with the highest score will move on to the next round of the process.

In the next round, the applicants will apply for a Conditional Use permit and the appropriate Los Angeles County permits. Then, the applicants are responsible for hosting a public meeting and informing all occupants and property owners within 2,500 feet of the proposed site.

Other requirements, which require additional money, must also be met.

In an effort to appease local residents who oppose the controversial plan to allow local pot-shops, the location of the storefronts will be subject to a variety of rules. They include:

• The business must be at least 600 feet from K-12 schools, day care centers (including pre-schools), youth centers, parks and playgrounds.

• It must also be at least 1,000 feet from another retail storefront cannabis business.

• It cannot be located on a corner lot next to residential areas.

There is, however, an exception for entrepreneurs who want to open their shop on a residential corner lot. The storefront may be permitted if the building's exterior is at least 45 feet from the property line of the closest residentially zoned property.

Because the entire permitting-process is so complex and lengthy, it may be a year or so before the first cannabis storefront opens.


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