Sparks fly at contentious cannabis license meeting

Cannabis might have been the night’s topic, but the monthly meeting of the Business License Commission was anything but mellow.

The Commission convened Tuesday evening to review two applications for a new type of cannabis permit: the Legacy Medical Cannabis Business License.

The license was created specifically for West Hollywood’s original medical cannabis dispensaries, a group of four that includes last night’s applicants, MedMen WeHo and Zen Healing WeHo.

Since January 2018, the four dispensaries have been allowed to sell “adult-use” (recreational) cannabis under a temporary permit, in addition to the medical product they were approved for originally. The Legacy license allows them to continue selling both types in a more permanent fashion.

Sparks flew almost from the get-go during Zen Healing’s review.

The Commission was surprised to learn that the business had received 38 complaints related to noise blaring from customers’ cars — “99 percent” of which had been filed by the same person, resident Marv Auerbach, who lives behind Zen Healing.

Commissioners grilled the applicants and city staff on the subject, trying to get to the bottom of it.

“The neighborhood being safe is obviously a big concern for us,” said Amanda Pagal, Zen Healing’s manager. “We don’t take it lightly in any way. I’ve personally spoken to my neighbor more times than I can count on my fingers and toes trying it in good faith to build a good relationship and to be a good neighbor. And I’m still trying and I’m still doing my best but at the end of the day I really do feel like it’s a losing battle.”

Pagal also took issue with the city’s new requirement that they have three security guards instead of two.

“We’ve used our security and staff to try and address the problem. I would just ask if the commission will consider since this is a small business, it’s not a nationwide brand, it is a stronger burden on this business to require three security guards.”

Mitzi Mogul, whose family has owned the property since 1961, was a little more unfiltered.

“I’m surprised that the Commissioners are unaware of this guy. It is the same guy making all of these complaints. He is a fruitcake. You cannot speak to him. He is impossible and he invents things and he has trespassed on the property,” she said. “All I can say is I wish that every tenant was as good a tenant as Zen Healing.”

Marv Auerbach called in during public comment to defend himself.

“For the last half hour, my character has been assaulted, and I don’t like it,” he said. “If it wasn’t for me the Zen Healing lot that Joel Mogul owns would be a hell hole. I remember everything. I see everything. My quality of life has been affected. You definitely need a third security guard on the plot.”

Commissioners were somewhat sympathetic toward Auerbach and considered ideas on how to alleviate the issue.

“I just feel like (Zen Healing) really missed the opportunity in trying to correct this and trying to rise above the issues that they had,” said Commissioner Anthony Vulin. “Whether the 38 complaints are legitimate or not, I know from my experience just walking by that I’ve almost never seen a security guard in front, and I always see people out in the front smoking so I believe there is some credibility to the complaints.”

Ultimately, the Commission decided the complaints weren’t enough to deny their approval. They also approved a Legacy license for MedMen.

Sherri Franklin with WeHo’s Chamber of Commerce called in to offer her support for both businesses.

“They are long-standing businesses in West Hollywood. They were the first and we really appreciate their leadership here, and also helping us to be the kind of City that’s going to stay in the forefront for cannabis across the world, so we’re very excited about this.”

UPDATED: Corrects name to Marv Auerbach. Thanks to Jeffery Aubel.

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jR WeHo
jR WeHo
3 months ago

COOKIES got to go. that is one ghetto crowd and bringing a lot of crime to the area.

Val
Val
3 months ago
Reply to  jR WeHo

those ghetto people have plenty of money to spend (somehow), and thats the bottom line. Plus they are diverse, and in this Post-George Floyd era you HAVE TO like diverse crowds NO MATTER WHAT. Got it?

Johnny A.
Johnny A.
3 months ago

What is disturbing is the city banning smoking in privately owned condos with no shared ventilation system yet they have no issue with marijuana. It’s just ridiculous and clearly over reach into private property rights. Banning smoking on streets etc is fine but don’t tell me it’s suddenly illegal to smoke if I want to. It’s just the most poorly managed city run by some really strange people who do not value privacy and private property. Weed stinks as much as cigarettes and I recall how easy it was to get a card from some sham doctor claim I have… Read more »

Harley Robert
Harley Robert
3 months ago
Reply to  Johnny A.

I’m always amazed at smokers who insist that they have the right to stink up other people’s dwellings. It is a question of privacy but you have it reversed: your smoking forces innocent bystanders to be part of your choice. As a non smoker living in a multi family dwelling I have been assaulted by cigarette smoke coming into my apartment from neighbors smoking in their apartment. Smoking is never a single person activity, it’s a shared activity. When you smoke in your unit or on your balcony you are forcing others around you to smell your disgusting smoke regardless… Read more »

Myra
Myra
3 months ago
Reply to  Harley Robert

I agree. I too live next-door to a heavy smoker. My neighbors and I who live in the apartments surrounding him, have been forced to spend money we can’t afford to spend, on fans and air purifiers in order to protect ourselves from his second hand smoke. Even knowing that I’m a lung cancer survivor who has lost half of my right lung , he refuses to compromise in any way, and tells us that if we don’t like it, we can move. I am eagerly awaiting the smoking ban to take place on January 1, 2023. I only wish… Read more »

Tom
Tom
3 months ago

If this is the Mitzi (March) Mogul who ran the Art Deco society I would have to think that her ability to recognize someone as a “fruitcake” was by kinship.

D Sugar Kopplin-Easley
D Sugar Kopplin-Easley
3 months ago

Thank you for your in-depth discussions on cannabis in West Hollywood!

WehoFan
WehoFan
3 months ago

Many people have problems with dispensaries in weho. Wrong to make this about one resident’s complaints.

Michael Gtace
Michael Gtace
3 months ago

More news about the most corrupt city in Southern California. Pay to play West Hollywood.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
3 months ago

Bad behavior for the win. Residents lose. It’s only gonna get worse.

JJ1
JJ1
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Nasium

Yup. It’s only going to get worse. And we see that already. Quality of life in West Hollywood and in Los Angeles in general is really going down hill. And our “leaders” keep following the same path of failed policies and flawed thinking.

Jeffery aubel
Jeffery aubel
3 months ago

His name is Marv Auerbach, not Mark Arabak.

Larry Block
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeffery aubel

Thank you and will will update.

WehoFan
WehoFan
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeffery aubel

Jeffery could have emailed this privately. He is trying to name and shame a Weho resident.

Jeffery aubel
Jeffery aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Marv announced his name at the hearing when he called in. How am I trying to “name and shame” someone? I get it, you’re not a fan, but at least try to make sense.

WehoFan
WehoFan
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeffery aubel

Not a fan. You’re a racist city employee with a chip on your shoulder.

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