Los Angeles Cannabis Lottery, What You Need To Know

los angeles DCR lottery

California promised to restore social equity when it decriminalized recreational pot sales, so those who suffered discrimination could benefit from the marijuana boom. The California Cannabis Lottery is part of the state’s attempts to atone for those past wrongs.

However, a person entering the lottery should ideally have smoked a joint or two and suffered social injustice to qualify. Therefore, it is extremely important you understand the nitty gritty if you hope to become a pot-preneur, by supplying the nation’s favorite weed.

Be Part of the Build-Up While There’s Time

California’s Department of Cannabis Regulation anticipates holding the lottery in winter of 2022. Now that’s quite a broad canvas, but at least we have a clue. The lottery is rigged in favor of socially disadvantaged people.

So what you need to do while you have time is join the queue to apply for your social equity verification marker. This will tag you as a Social Equity Individual Applicant. Mind you tell the truth about income, because they will probably check.

However, all is not lost if you do not qualify or the system bounces you. Get out on the streets and find yourself a partner who qualified, but needs your ideas and financial contribution. You could also team with someone with equity potential, help them with the paperwork and be off to a smart start.

What Will the Competition Be Like?

California Department of Cannabis Regulation has space for 125 winners in the retail license lottery. That means 125 more legal cannabis recreational outlets in the state which is going to be huge.

However, there’s a possibility this may not leave much time for winners to obtain their state provisional licensing in time to start trading right away.  So do yourself a favor and learn how provisional licensing works before the rush.

A Plan B That’s Also Worth Considering

Unfortunately there are going to be more than 125 potheads joining the lottery. Therefore, it also makes sense to do have a backstop in terms of the alternative Public Convenience and Necessity process.

This process AKA the PCN also promotes social equity, but this time by ensuring recreational marijuana is available throughout the state.  You can do this in any part of California where a local licensing cap stands in your way. But there is something you have to do first.

That something is get the city councilor concerned to support your application as a matter of public convenience or necessity. However unfortunately, this is not part of the California Cannabis Lottery and there’s a $1,499 application fee attached.

But all is not lost. You also have to be social equity verified. So if you are, you could be just what another wannabee cannabis retailer with bucks is looking for right now.

One Final Very Important Thought

The California Cannabis Lottery will NOT repeat or become an annual event. It represents the ONLY opportunity to compete with big money and get your slice of the action. We sincerely hope what we wrote makes a difference to 125 pot fans, their lives and their lovers.


DCR Phase 3 Retail Round 2 lotto: May 26 to July 25 at 4pm Pacific time

  • TO QUALIFY: verified social equity applicant with
    • A qualifying California Cannabis arrest or conviction prior to November 8, 2016 AND
    • 10 years cumulative residency in a Disproportionately Impacted Area as defined by police reporting districts OR qualify as low income in 2020 or 2021 calendar year
  • Previously verified social equity applicants in 2019 must be re-verified with updated criteria to qualify

Previously verified Social Equity Candidates: need to be reverified under updated criteria

  • Also need California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction to register
    • Prosecution or conviction for violation of Prop D not suitable

Social Equity Application to conduct retail, non-retail delivery, and cultivation

  • Storefront Retail OPENS AFTER LOTTO (end 2022)
  • Non-storefront delivery to consumers
  • Cultivation
    • License types with canopy not currently accepted
  • Volatile Manufacturing not currently accepted
  • Non-volatile manufacturing
  • Distribution between businesses
    • Aka wholesale to retail
  • Testing

To be Verified for Non-retail Application 2/3 Criteria Need to be Met

  1. Cannabis arrest or conviction in Californian for any crime relating to the sale, possession, use, manufacture or cultivation of cannabis prior to November 8, 2016
  2. 10 years of cumulative residency in a disproportionately impacted area as defined by police reporting districts
    1. Low income threshold in 20202021, or qualify in 2020-2021 calendar year
    2. Low Income: defined as (1) the Social Equity Individual Applicant meets threshold established in annual US Department of Housing and Urban Development
      1. (2) social equity individual does not have assets in excess of four times the AMI amount for their household

Author: Richard Farrell (Dark Matters)

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Dark Matters is a digital magazine covering the underbelly of what makes our world go round. From the crust of the earth to the cosmos of the universe, from Big Foot to Big Pharma, psychedelics to the supernatural, we’re diving deep into the black hole of all that is subversive—sex, drugs, and aliens.


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