Tuesday was the application deadline for people wanting to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Long Beach.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 126 different operators with applications filed, including several requesting multiple locations. Measure MM, the November ballot issue that voters approved to allow marijuana dispensaries, limits the number in the city to 32.
Of those 126 potential operators, 14 are pretty much guaranteed a license. Those are the operators who had legal dispensaries on Feb. 12, 2012. That was after the city conducted a lottery for dispensary licenses and before the city’s approach was declared unconstitutional, ultimately closing all dispensaries.
There is at least one priority dispensary in eight of the nine City Council districts. Districts Two and Four have the most with three dispensaries. Districts Six and Nine have two, and the rest have one. The exception is District 8, where there are several non-priority applications, but no priority operators.
That’s important because proximity to another dispensary is one of the limiting factors on where a dispensary can be located. There also are buffer zones for schools, parks, libraries and beaches.
Once the basic applications are approved, operators must go through a series of inspections and background checks before they can open. Required inspections are from the Fire Department, and the Environmental Health, Planning and Building and Safety divisions or bureaus. There is no deadline for completing the inspection process, but officials anticipate it will take about 90 days to complete it if operators comply in a timely manner.
City officials will conduct another lottery to determine who among the non-priority applicants gets to move forward with a license application. First, applications will be given points for meeting various requirements. Then the applications with the highest point total will be entered into a lottery and drawn to