Following a two month long “request for qualifications” (RFQ) process, the City’s Office of Cannabis Management on April 1 announced the top 10 scoring applicants who can now apply for new storefront cannabis dispensary permits. All the RFQ applicants were part of the Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) Program, a program created to assist individuals disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs in entering the cannabis industry.
“We are excited that the top scoring CORE participants are one step closer to their own cannabis storefront,” said Davina Smith, head of the Office of Cannabis Management. “Because the City previously had a cap of 30 storefront dispensary permits, and those were awarded years ago, CORE program participants had little opportunity to open a storefront, even after participating in the program.”
Applicants of the RFQ were required to submit a statement of qualifications including a cover letter, business plan, budget, resume, evidence of business readiness and a letter of reference. Submitted materials were evaluated “blindly,” meaning panelists did not see applicant names or other personal information to ensure fair scoring.
The RFQs were evaluated by the following panel:
- Margeaux Bruner – advisor at Perpetual Harvest Sustainable Solutions
- Amber Littlejohn – the Executive Director of the Minority Cannabis Business Association
- Javier Montes – Owner of cannabis storefront dispensary Delta-9 THC in Los Angeles, and Vice President of the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA)
- Sam Smalls – Treasury and Debt Manager with the Metropolitan Water District
“Our panel featured individuals with expertise in business development and finance, the cannabis industry and cannabis equity,” Smith said. “The panelists were not participating on behalf of their employers and businesses. Instead, they volunteered as private individuals and participated as a service to the equity community.”
The evaluation process was developed based on stakeholder input, City Council direction and feedback from the City Attorney’s Office, Smith said.
The 10 awarded applicants include:
- Maisha Bahati
- Brandon Bolton
- Mindy Galloway
- Jarett Hill
- Robert Jackson
- Daniel Kang
- La Krisha King
- Mark Mabutas
- Malaki Seku Amen
- Michael Snell