UFCW, UCBA and Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force Call on City Councilmembers and City Attorney to Honor the Will of Voters and Issue Cannabis Businesses Licenses

80% Yes Vote for Measure M Mandates Business Licenses

LOS ANGELES – June 29, 2017 – Cannabis business owners, patients, activists, cannabis workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 (UFCW), United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA) and the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force today called on the Los Angeles City Council and City Attorney Mike Feuer to honor the will of LA’s voters and issue the cannabis business licenses authorized by Measure M.

An overwhelming 80% of LA voters voted Yes on Measure M, which authorizes a licensing, taxation and regulatory structure for cannabis businesses in Los Angeles. Yet under draft regulations recently released by the City, no cannabis business licenses will be issued. Instead, the City will issue “Certificates of Compliance” and limited immunity to cannabis operators.

A Certificate of Compliance does not grant an affirmative right to lawfully operate a business.

Limited immunity:

  • Does not mean a business is legal, or licensed.
  • Can only be asserted as an affirmative defense in a criminal enforcement proceeding.
  • Places the burden of proof on businesses for an affirmative defense.

“The City’s proposal keeps cannabis business in LA illegal, which flies in the face of Measure M, Prop 64, and the medical cannabis regulations signed into law by Governor Brown,” said Ariel Clark, chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force and a partner at Clark Neubert LLC. “The City is obligated to create a licensing program that gives businesses the right to legally operate in LA.”

UFCW Local 770 President Ricardo Icaza said “the City’s land use proposal, which perpetuates limited immunity and the criminalization of cannabis, puts workers at risk on a daily basis, and denies them the opportunity for stable, quality and professional jobs with a future in this new industry. Now is the time for the City of LA to respect the voters’ wishes and get in step with the State of California and develop a real regulatory system that provides workers protections and an administrative procedure to hold employers accountable.”

In 2016, Governor Brown rejected limited immunity as a means of defining compliant businesses in the City of LA.

“The UCBA supported Measure M because it mandated a clear pathway for local licensure,” said Jerred Kiloh, President of the UCBA Trade Association, “It’s totally unacceptable that the City is ready to tax our businesses, but won’t issue licenses allowing us to operate. LA’s voters were loud and clear: make cannabis businesses legal in LA.”

For more information, visit ucbatradeassn.com or lacannabistaskforce.org

Media Inquiries:

Task Force: Elizabeth Ashford (415) 529-0143 or eashford@ceresstrategy.com
UCBA: Kian Kaeni (310) 925-4078 or kian@ekapr.com
UFCW Local 770: Rigo Valdez (213) 300-4345 or rigo.valdez@ufcw770.org