Potential Los Angeles Marijuana Customers Heading to Competitors

The government process is slow and in truth it is intended to be slow with lots of checks and balances, but explain that to potential Los Angeles marijuana dispensary owners and they will give you the serious stink eye. Sales are booming for dispensary owners in California, but Los Angeles marijuana customers are heading outside city limits for their cannabis needs since there are no open marijuana dispensaries in L.A..

The city of Los Angeles says they want to make sure they get licensing done right before they just start handing out licenses to operate a recreational marijuana store in Los Angeles. The city of angels may get renamed the city of cannabis, it is expected to be the largest market for marijuana in the entire country and one of the largest in the world.

The slow pace of permitting in Los Angeles has infuriated some marijuana dispensary owners, who said they are losing a huge amount of income and watching customers flock to competitors in cities like West Hollywood and Santa Ana. Los Angeles has defended its system, saying it is more intent on getting the rules right than in being first.

That stance has been of little consolation to marijuana dispensary owners like Jerred Kiloh, owner of the Higher Path on Ventura Boulevard in the sprawling San Fernando Valley. He estimates that he is losing as many as 150 customers, and perhaps $10,000, per day.

“Being first to market is important in any industry, but especially in this industry right now,” said Kiloh, who previously ran a birthing center and a 3D-printing business in Northern California. “We lose market share every day. … We are fighting huge losses and I don’t think anybody really cares.”

A couple of the merchants said that an intermediary who has been working with the city was given assurances that the first permits would be out by Monday of this week. Then he was told Tuesday, only to have both those days pass, with no permits issued.

The Cannabis Department’s first executive director, Cat Packer, told the press three days before Christmas that she imagined that within “a week or two” after the Jan. 3 kickoff date there would be “10 to 30 businesses” with the needed city authorizations. She implied that all the eligible shops would have their approvals within three weeks — by January. 24.

Colorado is already seeing sales decline for marijuana and the Los Angeles’s market may not see the boom that a lot cities and states saw when marijuana was first legalized. Is this a massive missed opportunity for a windfall of cash that Los Angeles is just going to skip?

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