Women's Cannabis Chamber of Commerce

Larisa Bolivar

The Washington Post called Larisa Bolivar  “one of the city’s [Denver] most well-known proponents of decriminalizing marijuana nationally,” Larisa came to Denver in 2001 as a medical cannabis refugee. She immediately began assisting patients in navigating the early and complicated process of finding doctors who would recommend cannabis and matchmaking them with registered caregivers in an effort to create safe access in a legally ambiguous space. A cannabis career and company began.

Larisa founded Caregivers for Safe Access and helped thousands of patients with registering for medical marijuana cards. Caregiver for Safe Access was renamed the Colorado Compassion Club and in 2005 the first dispensaries in Colorado prior to 2008. (Regulations were created in 2010). In 2008, she returned to the DC area where she’s from and continued her cannabis advocacy work while simultaneously working for a billion dollar valued clean tech company.

Her activism, advocacy, expertise and commitment to patients’ rights moved her into the national spotlight. She has published articles in respected publications such as the Denver Post, and in 2017, she published the Cannabis Consumers Coalition: 2017 Report on Cannabis Consumer Demographics and Consumption Habits that was mentioned by Forbe’s, Entrepreneur and Investing News. A well-recognized global expert on cannabis policy, industry and business, Larisa Bolivar has been featured and quoted in multiple publications and speaks on a variety of cannabis business and advocacy topics at major conferences around the globe.

Larisa was named one of the 2019 “Top 100 People You Should Know”by Hemp Connoisseur Magazine. She has been recognized as an industry pioneer by Sensi Media in the first issue of Sensi Magazine, Colorado 2016. In her 2020 interview with Westword, Larisa talks about the realities of the Colorado cannabis industry. 

In 2014, Larisa founded the Cannabis Consumer Coalition, 501(C)(3), which promotes consumer advocacy and education.  She has also served as co-chair on the board of the National Diversity Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA) and on the board of Colorado NORML.

The mission of the Cannabis Consumers Coalition is to provide cannabis consumers with a voice in the growing cannabis industry, and to ensure consumer rights and ethical behavior on behalf of cannabis-related businesses. 

In 2020, Larisa helped write and push for Colorado House Bill 1424 Social Equity in Regulated Cannabis Businesses to lay the groundwork for creating statewide social equity. Larisa’s father is a Peruvian immigrant and her multi-racial has been targeted in the War on Drugs on two continents.

Larisa has been consulting independently as Bolivar Consulting since 2008. She began writing business plans before there was market data, becoming a contributing thought leader. 

Over the years Larisa has been instrumental in winning licenses for clients in competitive states, including Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. She has written standard operating procedures and other company operating documents across multiple highly regulated markets, assisted companies in becoming more efficient and profitable, has successfully helped businesses get organized and prepared for mergers and acquisitions and further provides organizational development support.

Larisa Bolivar is the owner and founder of Bolivar Hemp Company. Bolivar Hemp Company was years in the making, starting with a dream, and then bringing that dream to a reality in December 2018. The company launched with 9 products and two lines and is in the process of a reorganization in Oklahoma.

Currently, Larisa is also the chief operations and compliance officer for HPF Productions which produces flower for Moss Greenery under the brand Higher Power Flowers, which is marketed as Higher Power Flowers produced by Moss Greenery.

Larisa Bolivar continues to advocate for consumer rights, accountability in the cannabis industry and social equity and justice. 

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Los Angeles Social Equity

LA Social Equity

Los Angeles opened the application process for social equity applicants in September 2019.  To date only three of the 200 eligible applicants have received approval from the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation; Artist Tree, Sunset Business Solutions, and CannaTrust Group.  Artist Tree in Koreatown is the only one that has opened.

The Social Equity Program is a three-tiered program that groups applicants meeting certain criteria and processes their application in a priority schedule created by the City.

 Tier 1 Social Equity Individual Applicants must be low-income, and have a prior California Cannabis Arrest or Conviction, or have a minimum cumulative residency of five years in a Disproportionately Impacted Area. 

A Tier 2 Social Equity Individual Applicant must be Low Income and have a minimum cumulative residency of five years in a Disproportionately Impacted Area or the individual does not meet the Low Income requirement but has a minimum cumulative residency of ten years in a Disproportionately Impacted Area. 

A Tier 3 Applicant is a person who applied for a non-retail cannabis license under another Section of the Code but does not meet the requirements of a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Social Equity Individual Applicant.

The local and state application process is complicated and requires the expertise of attorneys, cannabis consultants, security experts, architects, and other professionals. 

Filing fees are around $600 and application fees can cost between $7,000 and $9,000.

The Department of Cannabis Regulation reports that only 46 applicants have uploaded the minimum number of documents required to apply for a cannabis license. 

In early 2021, the Los Angeles County Bar Association partnered with the city to provide pro-bono legal assistance to the 200 retail applicants.

The Department of Cannabis Regulation established the Social Equity Entrepreneur Development (SEED) Grant Program. SEED will provide $6 million in financial assistance to the 200 social equity applicants. The first grants will be dispersed in a few months.

The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation is now hosting webinars on their website. The webinars provide updates and help social equity stakeholders navigate the licensing process.

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