The free market apparently does not apply to West Hollywood, as the ‘West Hollywood Originals’ continue to fight to keep their businesses propagating.
The West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, June 17, 2019 was a newsworthy, and contentious event. Through a vote, the council ruled that stores currently selling recreational Cannabis can continue to do so-until March. The 4-1 win was bittersweet for the people who have based their businesses on recreational Cannabis the last year.
On one hand, the four dispensaries who were awarded a temporary recreational Cannabis license lived to fight another day. However, the fact that they are still fighting has become a bone of contention
between the dispensaries and the city council.
The four dispensaries were asked by city officials in 2003 and 2004 to help them in their quest to make Cannabis recreational. Sure, at the time, the four agreed to the temporary license, because something was better than nothing. However, the business was lucrative, and the official legalization process took nearly ten years. Even though they were asked in 2003 and 2004, the dispensaries did not become
official until 2018. Nevertheless, the originals were able to quickly carve their livelihoods out of this opportunity.
Now, instead opting for a logical solution, the West Hollywood Council is trying to revoke the original four licenses. The reason is not legal, however. It is due to the luck of the draw. When it became apparent that legalization was imminent, West Hollywood decided to give out eight ‘permanent’ licenses.
There were over one-hundred applicants, some of which did not even have an address, which contended against the existing dispensaries. The result? Not one of the original four made the cut. This inevitably carved out a hard line of opposing forces.
Those that are pro the original dispensaries argue that they are up and running. Customers are happy with their options and the free market is working just fine. Additionally, with the new dispensaries possibly opening in July 2020, there is a potential four-month abolition. Not to mention, the businesses that are already up and running have relied on this market for a year. Pro-originals cannot understand
the justification of taking that away from these businesses.
Those who support the council’s decision believe that this is the fairest way, as the application process was based on merit, supposedly. Yet, remember that the other ninety-two applicants have never had a legal pot shop and the original four are lucrative. Regardless, the justification for shutting down the existing licenses is to give their new golden boys a chance to shine; unhindered by those with, you know, experience.