The slow and steady process for opening a recreational cannabis sales businesses is taking another step forward with the city’s Business License Commission expected to decide on Wednesday whether to grant a license to the Budberry shop proposed for 8271 Santa Monica Blvd., the current location of the Thomas Schoos design studio.
If approved, Budberry will be the fourth recreational cannabis retailer to have obtained a business license in West Hollywood. Thomas Schoos, a well-known restaurant designer, is a partner in the venture and will do the design. Others that have been approved by the commission are PleasureMed, 7715 Santa Monica Blvd., near the Pleasure Chest adult stores, and Artist Tree, 8625 Santa Monica Blvd., the location of the former FrontRunners athletic shoe store, and Calma, 1155 N. La Brea Ave.
After a complex process to evaluate 300 applicants for cannabis licenses, West Hollywood approved eight licenses in each of five categories — recreational sales, medical use sales, delivery, smoking and vaping lounges and edible product lounges, with some applicants like Pleasure Med LLC being granted licenses in multiple categories. To open, the licensees must secure a location for the business and then obtain the appropriate planning permits from the city’s Current and Historic Preservation Planning Division, affirming that the proposed use is permitted within the zoning for the property. After obtaining planning permits the licensees have a hearing before the Business License Commission in which the commission will approve or deny issuance for the business license and set any necessary conditions on the business. Then each licensee must obtain a license from the State of California.
Another recipient of a license is Flore Flora LLC, which will open its Lowell Café cannabis consumption lounge on Oct. 1 at 1201 N. La Brea Ave. near Lexington. It will be the first such lounge in California. Customers will be able to smoke, vape and consume edible cannabis products on an outdoor patio enclosed with fencing and plants. The café also will offer a menu at an adjacent space that includes salads and sandwiches along with coffee and tea and juices. Alcohol will not be served.
Other successful applicants in the city’s process for screening requests for recreational cannabis business are Aeon West Hollywood Inc., Essence Weho LLC (Essence), PDLP JV LLC (Greenwolf West Hollywood), and Redwood Retail LLC (Lord Jones). Several prominent local residents and business people are associated with those winners. For example, Jason Illoulian of Faring, the real estate developer, is a partner in Calma. Soheil Yamini, the owner of Pink Dot on Sunset, is one of the owners of Greenwolf. And Brian Robinson, owner of the Pleasure Chest, is also the owner of Pleasure Med.
All of the successful applicants for recreational cannabis licenses face a challenge from MedMen, one of the four existing medical cannabis businesses in West Hollywood that were granted a temporary license to sell recreational cannabis. None of those businesses qualified for a recreational sales license, which has sparked an effort by them to lobby City Council members to give them recreational licenses anyway. MedMen has taken that a step farther, filing a petition in L.A. Superior Court on Sept. 4 through its Farmacy Collective that asks that the court halt any action required to complete the application process for the winners of the eight recreational licenses. It also asked that the court order the City of West Hollywood to dismiss the independent panel chosen to evaluate the applications and appoint a new one. And it asked that the evaluation panel be required to give priority in its assessments to existing cannabis businesses. MedMen argues that that was the intent of some of those who crafted the 2016 initiative to legalize cannabis in California known as Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
The Business License Commission meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Budberry will be the third recreational cannabis business to seek approval of a license by the city’s Business License Commission. In fact, it is the fourth. The story has been updated to correct that.