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The future of legal cannabis in Long Beach got greener this year thanks to Adam Hijazi, a founding board member of the Long Beach Collective Association. Since the association’s origin in 2010, he’s been one of the key industry players who brought legal marijuana back to Long Beach following a citywide ban in 2012. The owner of Long Beach Green Room and The Station — two of the four legal dispensaries in the city —Hijazi, a Palestinian-American, is helping to change how we think about dispensaries in downtown business districts.
“We work really close with a lot of the neighborhood leaders and business associations to change the perception of how [a] cannabis facility can be like any facility or business,” Hijazi says.
As the first legal cannabis dispensary in the city, Long Beach Green Room became the city’s headquarters for cannabis advocacy. The Station, a cutting-edge dispensary that opened last year, is situated in a former police station. Both were opened with a focus on not only sales, but also social equity; the dispensaries sponsor street cleanups, tree planting, trash clean up, toy drives and food drives.
Hijazi was also a member of a task force that crafted recommendations for the city council when it considered its own marijuana policy in 2015 before voters passed a medical legalization initiative in 2016. Dispensary owners had to wait until August 13 of last year to submit applications to receive adult-use business licenses and then be subject to inspection checks.
“We work really close with a lot of the neighborhood leaders and business associations to change the perception of how [a] cannabis facility can be like any facility or business.” – Adam Hijazi, Long Beach Collective Association founding board member
“It was very hard to legalize cannabis in the city of Long Beach,” Hijazi explains. “We had two different ballot initiatives in the city and collected over 100,000 signatures to tax and regulate cannabis in [Long Beach County] and provide it to its residents … it took about six years of development to get it to this point.”
Hijazi’s efforts are finally paying off. “The combination of all those things at the right time pretty much ended the philosophical debate of whether cannabis should be in the city,” he says. “Now it’s a matter of working out the kinks of how to roll it out and continue [to] roll out the various license types that are allowed.”