Standing along the bustling corridor of Crenshaw Boulevard in South Los Angeles is the first Black-female owned dispensary in the city, according to its owner Kika Keith.
Keith opened the shop through a city program that was designed to make cannabis business ownership more accessible to low-income people and communities impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
But the very program that was trying to right the wrongs of the past instead became another obstacle for business owners like Keith. For three years, their shop sat mostly empty with its store front windows covered up and a poster that read: “Social Equity Cannabis Business Coming Soon.”
“I thought this was a great opportunity,” Keith told Los Angeles, recalling when she learned about the city’s social equity program. “Then we started sitting back and being like, ‘Wait a minute.’ This program is designed to fail.”
The Los Angeles Social Equity Program was created in late 2017, a year after voters approved Proposition 64, legalizing the sale of cannabis for recreational use in California.
Keith, who had been working in the wellness space since 2008 with her chlorophyll beverage business Gorilla Life, said she learned about the program that same year while attending several community meetings in her