More on the LA Cannabis Retail License Lottery

We have more details for you regarding the Los Angeles cannabis retail license lottery, following last week’s post on the topic. We combed the Department of Cannabis Regulation’s (“DCR”) website and came up with answers to the three most important questions about the retail lottery.

1. When will the retail lottery occur?

DCR anticipates that the cannabis retail license lottery will occur in winter 2022.

However, the most important step to take right now is to apply for social equity verification. The deadline to apply is July 25th, so now is the time to find your documentation and get verified.

For those who do not qualify, the next best step is to identify and forge a partnership with a social equity verified applicant. We’ll post a blog post about how best to go about this in the coming weeks. Before we do, plan on identifying a partner right before the lottery occurs, after applicants are notified of their verification status. Thus, you should aim to have a partner by November at latest.

2. How many applications will be selected?

DCR will select approximately 125 applicants for further processing using the retail license lottery.

This number is bittersweet. Sweet because it will add a lot more licensed cannabis retail to the city of LA. Bitter because it means DCR will not be able to process all applications in time for applicants to also apply for state provisional licensing. Hopefully, DCR will create a pre-approval process that enables applicants to apply for state provisional licensing prior to receiving DCR temporary approval.

3. Is the Public Convenience and Necessity process a viable alternative to the lottery?

The only other pathway to LA cannabis retail licensing is the Public Convenience and Necessity (PCN) process. Essentially, applicants who apply for retail licenses in areas that have reached their licensing cap must receive a finding of Public Convenience or Necessity from the City Councilor who represents that area before DCR will accept and process your application. You also must pay a fee of $1,499 within 10 days of submitting the request. Note! You must still become social equity verified prior to submitting a PCN request and application for retail licensing.

DCR will open the PCN process again sometime this year, before the lottery. DCR may allow applicants who do not win the lottery to apply via PCN. But we’re not sure yet, so check back in the near future for updates on how to participate in the PCN process.


It’s also important to note that the retail lottery represents the end of social equity retail licensing. In two-and-a-half years, in 2025, LA will be able to open cannabis retail licensing to everyone. If all else fails, there is no better strategy than patiently observing this process as it unfolds and awaiting the most opportune time to stake your claim.

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California, Licensing