Life Development Group
Started 2 petitions
GET CAT PACKER AND THE DCR TO PROCESS ALL APPLICATIONS
The Social Equity Program was intended to improve the life outcomes of the people most disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs, but instead it has bankrupted many applicants due to many months of delays and bad policies. As City Council President Herb Wesson has stated, It is paramount that the application process must be transparent and fair, while maintaining the utmost integrity. Now that the Phase 3 Retail Round 1 Application process has begun, it has been completely compromised by the failure of the first come, first served application process. At the last Cannabis Regulation Commission meeting, the Department of Cannabis Regulation acknowledged that at least 2 applicants had access to the application portal prior to the announced 10am start time! The Accela website’s security features were also disabled for the first several minutes, allowing automated bots to submit successful applications. The process was completely botched from a technical standpoint and has lost legitimacy for determining who the first 100 applicants were. The process was also compromised by the DCR’s attorney, Alex Freedman, who gave predatory investors the advantage of advising them on Social Equity Program loopholes and changing . The purpose of phase 3 was to provide licensing opportunities to social equity applicants who have been holding onto properties for years. It was not meant for corporate entities to come in and swoop up real estate and use souped up computers to take all the licences. Alex Freedman was the architect of the first come first serve process, and he just quit the DCR to start a cannabis consulting firm which is now active in social equity markets across the country. Hundreds of Social Equity Applicants are currently holding onto expensive leases for retail locations in anticipation of getting licensed for commercial cannabis activity. We are all spending $7,000- $35,000 a month while we wait to find out if we will be selected. Many of us have been holding on to these leases for a year and in some cases 2 years! Sign this petition to demand ALL applications are processed equally and fairly. On Monday October 28th, the Los Angeles City Council President, Herb Wesson made a declaration that the DCR Executive Director, Cat Packer, must suspend processing the "First 100" Retail Round 1 applications or, process all the applications submitted during the application period to restore integrity, transparency, and fairness to the Social Equity Program. See his letter here and sign this petition to process all applications, NOW!
GET DEPARTMENT OF CANNABIS REGULATIONS TO BLOCK PREDATORY CONTRACTS AND MGMT AGREEMENTS
In 2015, African Americans were arrested at seven times the rate of whites, despite only being less than 10% of the population. African Americans across California were two times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana misdemeanor, and five times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana felony. A simple marijuana arrest often meant lost opportunities for housing, education, and employment that were denied because of a criminal record. In the last decade alone, nearly 500,000 residents have been arrested for marijuana. For many living in California, the terms War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration are just words, but for many members of our communities, these words have had very harsh consequences on their lives, families, and neighborhoods. The Social Equity Program is an opportunity for those disadvantaged communities and families to create generational wealth and offer community-based businesses’ the chance to thrive. When the Social Equity Program was introduced to Los Angeles in 2017, our communities were excited and felt our government would be prioritizing individuals who so deeply have been affected by the War On Drugs. Now, over a year later, after numerous date changes, regulation changes from both a state and city level and red tape, our applicants have another challenging barricade, predatory lending. Through predatory behavior, investors are believed to be offering back end deals, lowered equity, and selling of licenses. We as a community stand behind our own, and demand that the Department of Cannabis Regulations reads through every management agreement and contract to ensure that no social equity applicant is getting taken advantage of. We have contracts in hand that can prove this. The Social Equity program has sold our constituents a dream of being a business owner and affording them the ability to help rebuild the communities in which they represent. We, as a city, must ensure that the investors who are assisting in funding these projects are doing so with the idea of community reinvestment, and job options for the community, in their model. We must ensure that no social equity applicant is getting an unfair deal that would bankrupt them, or make them lose their homes or assets through liens or collateral. When a new business comes into a community, the economics of that neighborhood changes, and we must be vigilant in our efforts in not just listening to the voices of the marginalized, but amplifying them. Los Angeles has a unique opportunity to work with social equity applicants in a way that empowers the community, and we must make sure that it happens. The dream that has been sold to applicants must be delivered upon, and the best way to do that is to have the Department of Cannabis Regulations enact a period AFTER pre-verification is over on July 29th, 2019, to work with The California Department of Business Oversight. This is necessary to make sure that those applying don’t fall victim to deceitful or fraudulent loans that steer borrowers towards interest rates that far exceed the lender's risks, charging excessively high fees, misrepresenting the loan’s terms and conditions, as well as community reinvestment percentages that unfairly target vulnerable populations. If the DCR deems a company predatory, the respective company or investor should be barred from applying for any cannabis business in Los Angeles, as well as California, for predatory lending behavior. Thank you.