Social equity ensured in marijuana licensing process

LOS ANGELES, CA, August 20, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — The City of Los Angeles recently agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs challenging the process the City uses to issue retail cannabis permits.

The suit, filed in April, sought to have the City vacate the results of a permit application process held last fall. The suit contended that more than 200 applicants accessed an online platform prior to the official start time and those applicants had an unfair edge over others who waited to log on.

Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs filed the suit on behalf of the Social Equity Owners and Workers Assn. (SEOWA) and Madison Shockley III, a founder of the organization. Rickey Ivie and Julio Navarro of Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs represented the group.

SEOWA is a non-profit collective committed to ensuring the cannabis industry provides a chance to repair the destruction caused by the War on Drugs to minority communities through inclusion and ownership in the industry.

Under the settlement, the City agreed to make changes to its cannabis licensing rules, including awarding an additional 100 social equity applications to be further processed for a license.

“This was a huge win for social equity, entrepreneurs, and our firm,” said Rickey Ivie, Director and a Founding Partner of Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell and Diggs. “The process was flawed, and this settlement made it right.”

The City of Los Angeles created the Department of Cannabis Regulation and Cannabis Commission to process applications and issue licenses. Under the Social Equity Program, the first 100 applicants meeting the requirements were eligible for further processing ultimately leading to a license. There were 802 applicants vying for the 100 licenses.

For more, refer to case #20STCP01426 or visit

Based in Los Angeles, Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs is a Black-owned law firm serving clients for more than 75 years in a diverse range of practice areas. The firm’s partners include Ricky Ivie, W. Keith Wyatt, Byron Purcell, Rodney Diggs, and Marie Maurice.

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