Opening a retail cannabis storefront can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that was before all the retail business licenses were claimed in Long Beach, but on Tuesday the City Council will consider adding additional dispensaries for lower-income owners.
Councilman Al Austin is asking the council to add up to eight new storefronts to the city’s roster which already has 32 retail dispensaries that were approved as part of a ballot measure in November 2016.
The spots would be set aside for applicants who qualify under the city’s cannabis equity program who have at least 51% ownership in the business.
Austin said that these applicants are being left out of the most significant revenue source in the industry; retail storefronts.
Last year cannabis tax revenue generated nearly $6.5 million over what city budget officials projected. However, nearly all of that money was generated by non-equity business owners.
“This is an issue that is long overdue,” Austin said. “If we’re not giving this direction now, then when?”
Austin said he wants city staff to explore the best possibilities for ensuring that equity applicants can get into ownership positions. The request for more storefronts comes after a bitter decade