Long Beach Offers Collective Punishment

How the city's botched marijuana lottery screwed its winners and losers alike

Members of LBCA recently held a meeting with the collectives that are suing the city, trying to find a way they can join together in pursuit of a common goal. Valerie Crist, the director of Avalon Wellness Center, is one person who's in favor of such an alliance. A recently divorced Realtor who left the business during the housing bubble and has since invested her life savings in the collective, she says she would have lost everything if it weren't for Cantella, who performed the $500,000 city-required construction at half the cost.

"There are more bad people than good people in this business, and that has got to change," Crist says. "The good people are being run off by the crackdown. My employees don't want to go to jail—ever. We want to follow the rules. There are people who refuse to play this game with the city, and I respect them for it—people who didn't pay the fee and have been raided, hardworking people with the right intentions. Unfortunately, the city has done a good job of dividing us."

This article appeared in print as "Collective Punishment: How Long Beach's botched marijuana lottery screwed its winners and losers alike."

Josh Howard
Miguel Vasconcellos
Josh Howard
Long Beach's favorite frenemy, John Morris
Miguel Vasconcellos
Long Beach's favorite frenemy, John Morris


*This article was altered on Feb. 6, 2012: [1] Mike Genera's name was misspelled; [2] a description of Larry Parks' legal standing was altered; [3] and [4] descriptors were changed, as Josh Howard's and Nichole West's positions have changed. 

*This article was altered again on Nov. 24, 2012: [5] A sentence was deleted by request.

*This article was altered again on Nov. 26, 2012: [6] The name of the collective was inserted by request.

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