The passage of California Proposition 64 (Prop 64) opened the door for cities to grant licenses to businesses for the purpose of selling cannabis and to legalize personal recreational use within their own jurisdiction. The City of Los Angeles, unlike other cities, delayed the licensing of new cannabis businesses while they refined and reworked regulations to include a Social Equity Program. The City acknowledged the cannabis criminalization and enforcement had long-term and disproportionate impacts to low-income and minority communities during The War on Drugs. The Social Equity Program is designed to repair those harms by creating regulations to support and focus on the inclusion of those individuals. Although well meaning, the Social Equity Program has already been the subject of multiple lawsuits and has been deemed a failure by others. The regulations implemented by the Department of Cannabis Regulation, altruistic and aimed to promote equitable ownership in the cannabis industry, have unintended consequences for those groups they hope to assist.
Martinez, Kaitlin, "Los Angeles’s Social Equity Cannabis Applicants are Getting Left in the Weeds" (2020). GGU Law Review Blog. 78.