On October 23, 2024, Matt Portnoff was quoted in San Fernando Valley Business Journal regarding the city of Ventura’s first open dispensary and the cannabis landscape of California.
According to the article, there has been an abrupt turnaround from the city’s initial ban on all cannabis businesses following the drug’s statewide legalization in 2018. In the past year, Ventura has approved six dispensary storefronts for its downtown district, double what the Ventura city council first planned in 2021.
According to Portnoff, most municipalities in California start out as limited-license jurisdictions but are slowly worn down to allow more permits after multiple rounds of appeals by business applicants.
“It’s often very inefficient and often not beneficial for the community in terms of getting to the right place,” Portnoff said.
Retail expansion into new cities has become a test of a business owner’s lobbying power as much as their business judgment, with those who can afford the legal backing able to survive rounds of appeals.
“Although there may be all sorts of social equity licensing available in some of these jurisdictions, I just don’t know how well any sort of mom-and-pop shop can be equipped to succeed in a lot of those jurisdictions,” said Portnoff.
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