The Los Angeles City Council’s decision to double the number of social equity retail marijuana licenses was the result of a court room settlement, according to a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Madison Shockley III, an actor turned entrepreneur, told Marijuana Business Daily that L.A.’s permit increase from 100 to 200 for a licensing round that took place last fall was the direct result of a lawsuit filed by Shockley and the Social Equity Owners and Workers Association.
According to Shockley, the City Council agreed to increase the number of licenses as part of a settlement agreement under which the lawsuit will be dropped.
The L.A. Department of Cannabis Regulation declined to comment on the settlement.
The lawsuit, which asked the court to order L.A. officials to redo the entire licensing process from last fall, was scheduled for a July 9 hearing pertaining to a preliminary injunction against the city.
That, plus a request for a temporary restraining order, forced the city’s hand, Shockley said.
If the plaintiffs had won either the injunction or the TRO and the case had gone to trial, the city’s marijuana licensing process would have been held up until the matter was resolved.
Nobody wanted to delay the licensing longer than necessary, Shockley said, and a doubling of the retail licenses is arguably the biggest victory he and the association could hope for.
“Even if we won the injunction and won the lawsuit, the most we could win was basically a do-over on those first 100 licenses,” Shockley said.
“So we were looking at 100 licenses versus 200, and clearly 200 was for the greater good.”
Shockley acknowledged that he and his social equity business partner, Kika Keith, stand to benefit directly because they’re amid the 200 who now will receive retail permits. Another 602 retail applicants who tried to win permits last fall remain out of luck.
A spokesperson for the L.A. city attorney’s office said Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign a copy of the settlement as soon as this week.
– John Schroyer