Long Beach looks to allow more cannabis dispensaries, possibly by next year • Long Beach Post News – Long Beach Post   Recently updated !

The additional eight dispensary licenses the council is considering creating would be reserved for equity applicants, or those who have less net worths and have criminal backgrounds tied to cannabis. It could be years before they actually open, but several council members expressed a desire to speed up that process.

The City Council voted Tuesday night to move forward with crafting an ordinance to address how far apart new equity dispensaries should be located from existing dispensaries and how applicants will be prioritized and selected for the coveted eight new licenses.

The council also asked that an alternative funding source to a tax increase on cannabis businesses be found for the roughly $555,000 it could cost to expand the city’s cannabis social equity program to support new business operators.

A proposal from city staff suggested raising the tax rate on some cannabis businesses by .25% to offset the startup and ongoing costs to pay for additional employees to administer the program, something that was opposed by the industry and multiple members of the council.

“Not that I’m opposed to ensuring things are taxed at an appropriate level but it does seem a bit counter to what we just did,” Mayor Robert Garcia said of the proposed tax increase and its potential affect on equity business owners.

City Manager Tom Modica said that tax increase was proposed because the extra revenue produced by additional cannabis equity businesses likely wouldn’t be available for another two to three years.

The city could pursue grant funding or reduce positions in other departments to cover the costs for the equity program, Modica said, and those options will likely be presented to the council when the ordinance is drafted.

The ordinance would also allow an unlimited number of delivery-only licenses for equity applicants that would allow

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