Owner 35 Carlos Zepeda and Delivery Manager 31 Jazmere Johnston run a cannabis business in Long Beach on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Photo: Thomas R. Cordova
After the soft launch in May, the phone in Pusherman’s office on 10th Avenue near Cherry Avenue was silent for several days. There was no order and no chatter on the walkie-talkie with the delivery driver picking up ark buds, THC gums, and cannabis flowers.
Carlos Zepeda, founder of the cannabis delivery service, said: Zepeda has nevertheless made the same progress as it has over the past three years. For the son of an immigrant from Honduras, the newly launched delivery service is the culmination of many years of work to set up his own licensed cannabis business. “It means the world to me,” said Zepeda.
But getting your business property has never been easier.
After a failed attempt to start a similar business in California City, Zepeda’s company sued California for corruption and unfair licensing practices, but the case was later dismissed. He returned to his hometown of Long Beach in search of new opportunities. “I licked my wounds and saw what was going on here in the social justice program,” said Zepeda.
There weren’t many.
Launched in 2018 to help those hardest hit by past cannabis crimes, the program has been specific so far, particularly in light of the increasing racial diversity among local business owners in the cannabis industry. The desired result could not be achieved.
Zepeda has been identified as an afloratino. It joins two demographics that were heavily influenced by the criminalization of cannabis before the war on drugs and the gradual legalization of California. He got there unscathed by the day of final legalization, but part of his family spent time behind the bar over cannabis crimes, he said.
Still, he’s helping someone in his background who own the cannabis business gain access to others, build wealth for generations, and find more equity in the industry. I think we can help. It’s about empowering women, blacks, browns and indigenous peoples, ”he said. “When we are wealthy, we can amplify our voices and hopefully adopt and implement policies that will benefit us.”
To start a business, Zepeda had to find its own workaround for city restrictions on the types of businesses that many low-income entrepreneurs believe would help increase diversity.
According to the Long Beach Collective Association, the city currently only allows deliveries from one of 16 licensed clinics, all of which are already spoken and held by black or Latin American entrepreneurs. There is nothing. Demographic data collected by the city’s cannabis observatory is not self-reported and comprehensive, according to the program manager, who refused to share the data with the Long Beach Business Journal.
Applicants for the city’s social justice program have long asked the city council to reconsider its policy on over-the-counter delivery services. They argue that their low start-up costs make pure mail order the most accessible form of business for entrepreneurs with limited financial resources.
From running the licensing process to acquiring real estate in cannabis-zoned areas to the costs associated with starting the cannabis business types currently allowed in the city, Zepeda initially became the city’s social cohort. After joining, it is an obstacle to moving forward. “If you have the capital, you have the money and get through the bureaucracy easily,” he says, and many wealthy investors simply hire consultants. Help navigate the process. But for him, founding his own company is “simply unattainable”.
Delivery manager Jazz Mia Johnston, 31, will process and package orders with Pusherman Delivery, a cannabis company, on Thursday, May 27, 2021 in Long Beach. Photo: Thomas R. Cordova
The city council has been discussing changes to the cannabis regulation since last year, which adds licensing terms for pure delivery companies and joint manufacturing facilities. Adding these types of licenses makes it easier for backers to enter the industry with hope and disadvantaged entrepreneurs. According to industry insiders, the change will be voted first in Congress in early July.
Zepeda has partnered with the Catalyst Cannabis Company, which holds multiple dispensing licenses in the city, to circumvent the obstacles created by the current exclusive supply ban. Catalyst CEO Elliot Lewis funded an equity program to start a business to help Zepeda and other undervalued entrepreneurs. When Zepeda approached him, he said he was ready to act as soon as possible.
“To be honest, I didn’t think too much about it,” said Lewis of his decision to move start costs up. “I said, think about how to do that,” he said, with an increasing focus on social and racial equality in the local cannabis industry. “We want to be on the right side of the problem.” Jazmere Johnston, a co-founder of Zepeda, helps her build a business from the ground up, no matter where her career path lies. Said the opportunity to do is beneficial.
Johnston is currently applying for a manufacturing license to make edible cannabis products. “I think it’s a great opportunity to learn,” said Johnston. “Giving back profits to our community.
Despite the low barriers to entry, the delivery business is not without its challenges. The President of the Long Beach Group Association currently only holds a handful of Longs, largely due to the additional costs associated with delivery services and stiff competition from licensed and unlicensed companies shipping to Long Beach from neighboring cities. Only beach clinics use licenses for delivery. Adam Hijaji.
Taking labor costs, insurance premiums, automobiles, and marketing costs, “It can be very expensive to actually do a full delivery,” says Hijazi. Still, he said he supports the city’s plan to only license low-income applicants and former convicted applicants related to cannabis in the social justice program demographics. It was.
“It’s a great first step for the city to offer these opportunities to fair applicants,” he said. The increase in long-strand-based delivery services will likely benefit the entire licensed cannabis business, he said. “The more approved deliveries, the more people can participate in the legal market.”
Zepeda admitted that building a customer base large enough to make your business profitable is difficult. “This is my only path at the moment, so I’ll do what I can and make it possible,” he said. One day Zepeda would like to own and operate a pharmacy in his shop. “Hopefully this is just the beginning,” he said.