As New Dispensaries Open, WeHo Considers Allowing Cannabis Special Events

WeHo Special Events

At the launch of new dispensaries with designated hang-out spots allowing on-site consumption, WeHo faces a burning question: should cannabis special events also be permitted?

According to city staff, there will be at least three new cannabis operations launching in West Hollywood before the end of the year, all located east of La Cienega on Santa Monica Boulevard, that will feature a cannabis retail storefront and an area for consumption. The first operations projected to open this summer are Aeon West Hollywood and Monica’s House, followed shortly behind by Pleasure Med which is set to open in the Fall. Artist Tree, a cannabis retail store that is already open will soon allow for on-site consumption as well, which has caused many businesses to follow in their footsteps.

Aside from the three new cannabis operations set to launch in 2022, nine other businesses received approval from the Business License Commission but have yet to establish a projected opening date. After Essence WeHo recently forfeited its licenses for adult-use sales, consumption, and delivery services, four businesses on the waitlist were prompted to apply for expanded licenses, including MedMen, Melrose Collective Corporation, Zen Healing Collective, and Sunday Goods.

West Hollywood’s cannabis regulations only allow for a finite number of licenses to be issued at a time, which has instilled a sense of urgency for competing operations to launch their business. Once an applicant has secured approval of their license from the Business License Commission, they have three years to open their business, or they will forfeit their license, but city staff is looking to increase that time limit to four years. City Council will receive an update on the implementation of the city’s cannabis ordinance at their meeting on Monday, including a myriad of changes and developments.

As City Hall explores the possibility of holding cannabis-focused special events in West Hollywood, they must first explore solutions to the following questions:

  • Should events include both the sale and consumption of marijuana?
  • Should anyone who has a state permit be able to hold a special event in the city, or should it be limited to those with “brick and mortar” stores in West Hollywood?
  • How many cannabis-focused special events can an applicant hold in the city each year?
  • Where can these events be located?
  • Does the cannabis sensitive-use buffer apply to special event locations?
  • What types of odor mitigation should be provided when smoking marijuana is a part of an event?
  • Can cannabis special events occur on public property?

While these questions remain, it is early to tell the extent to which regulations will be enforced on cannabis special events in WeHo, but it is clear that public safety is their priority. In light of the anticipated opening of new cannabis retail stores and lounges, City Council is considering directing staff to develop an education campaign focusing on safe adult use of cannabis. Additionally, they may direct staff to monitor cannabis licensee training protocols with the responsibility of reporting back to the council on program compliance, but only time will tell how they shall proceed.

Keep updated with the latest news about West Hollywood’s cannabis regulations at Dark Matters Magazine.

Author: Jess Jeffrey (Dark Matters Contributor)

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