While Waiting On L.A. Permits, Cannabis Entrepreneurs Are Running Out Of Patience And Money

By February, L.A. had granted temporary approval to roughly 180 shops

For Kika Keith, a dream deferred looks like a bare, brightly illuminated room in South Los Angeles.

After California legalized recreational cannabis, Los Angeles leaders had vowed that entrepreneurs such as her — with roots in communities hit hardest by the war on drugs — would get an upper hand in L.A.’s potentially lucrative marijuana market. Keith, a single mother of three, snapped up a lease on a Leimert Park storefront and lined up an investor.

This empty room was supposed to hold her dream — a shop that would sell beverages, tinctures and salves infused with cannabis, and reinvest a share of the profits in community groups.

But more than a year after sales of cannabis became legal in Los Angeles and other California cities and counties that have allowed it, Keith still cannot apply for a local license as a retailer. And L.A. officials cannot tell her exactly when that will change.

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