Retail Cannabis Licensing in Los Angeles Slowly Expanding Photo by Sterling Davis on Unsplash
June 1, 2021

We have followed the process of licensing new cannabis retailers in Los Angeles since September 2019, when the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) initially accepted applications for the business licenses. Late last week, Marijuana Business Daily reported that three retailers had gained temporary approvals allowing them to open their storefronts for business.

As we have pointed out in the past, the 200 retail licenses to be issued by DCR would represent the largest single retail expansion in California’s market since it opened in 2018. However, it appears that, while finalists for those licenses were identified in late 2020, the businesses actually completing all the other steps required before they can open will be a gradual process. The aforementioned report details where the finalists are in terms of the hurdles they need to clear before opening their doors to serve consumers, and also states that “Cat Packer, the DCR’s executive director, hopes to have at least a quarter of the applicants complete the temporary approval process in the next few months.”

The opening of 50 new retailers in California’s most populous city would in itself represent a significant retail expansion, if such events come to fruition. The proliferation of licensed retailers has been a major driver of increased sales in the state’s legal market and would represent new wholesale demand. As we note in the Cannabis Benchmarks Annual Chart Book: 2020 U.S. Recap, the number of licensed retailers in California grew by over 40% from the close of 2019 to the conclusion of 2020, which supported expanded sales and contributed to pushing up wholesale prices in the state last year.