WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif–West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman announced yesterday the city council would vote on an ordinance that would make additional cannabis business licenses available for delivery services, retail outlets, and consumption facilities.
If approved, the ordinance would allow a total of 32 licenses for cannabis businesses in the city. The city council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance on November 20.
Is West Hollywood poised to become the cannabis-friendly Amsterdam of the West?
“Amsterdam is a beautiful city but I don’t think West Hollywood will become another Amsterdam,” Mayor Heilman said, humorously. He added, “The ordinance allows for businesses to apply for licenses for medical, retail, delivery service, and consumption lounges. The ordinance has stringent requirements for applicants and a public hearing process. The ordinance also has limits on the number of licenses that can be issued.”
Alternative Herbal Health Services, or AHHSWeHo, was the first dispensary established in West Hollywood in 2004. Since then, three other dispensaries are currently in good standing with the city, including Zen Healing, MedMen (formerly The Farmacy), and Los Angeles Patient and Caregivers Group.
“The City of West Hollywood has always been at the forefront of California’s marijuana legalization movement and it is not surprising that it is again leading, as the state moves toward a full recreational market,” said MedMen Director of Communications Daniel Yi. “MedMen has managed its flagship dispensary in West Hollywood since late 2015 and we are proud to be working closely with the city’s leadership as it prepares to usher in the adult market. We support sensible regulations that expand access to marijuana product and consumption by responsible adults, and we will continue to work closely with the city.”
After more than a decade of experience with medical cannabis dispensaries in West Hollywood, Heilman noted local dispensaries that comply with regulations have been good neighbors.
“The medical dispensaries have been a very important resource for people suffering from various diseases and medical conditions,” Heilman said. “We have had very few problems with the medical dispensaries. The complaints we have received are similar to the complaints we have received with respect to other businesses in the city.”
Heilman added that he and the members of the city council are aware of concerns by cannabis opponents and some local citizens. He reassured the public that the licensing process for applicants was stringent, including background checks.
“I understand some people are fearful of crime. That’s why we have review procedures and background checks for applicants along with strict requirements for public safety,” he said. “Our experience with medical dispensaries makes me confident that we won’t have any public safety issues. I know our sheriffs’ department and fire safety professionals will do everything to ensure the safety of our community.”
The Mayor’s Office also noted that no one has spoken in opposition to expanding the number of licenses available, at previous meetings where the matter was discussed. The topic of security at cannabis businesses was raised, at one point, as a concern to the city council. Security issues, however, were not seen as a significant enough factor to ban or further limit cannabis licensing.