What $100 Million Dollars for Regulated Cannabis Really Means for California Cannabis Businesses
Can 100 Million Dollars Save The Golden States Flailing Regulated Cannabis Market? 5 years after adult-use cannabis became legalized in California and many aren’t too sure that it will. The fact is that California remains unsuccessful in supporting provisional cannabis licensees and those trying to enter the market legally due to a lack of resources or adequate support from government agencies. Could the state’s latest attempt with a California cannabis grant really work better than commercial California cannabis business loans available?
That, coupled with stiff competition with the booming legacy market and provisional licensees in California-regulated cannabis have many hurdles to clear. That’s a tough joint to smoke for a state supposed to be a pioneer in legalization; hence the move by some legislators to support the struggling industry monetarily.
100 Million Dollar California Cannabis Grant
The one-time 100 million dollar California business grant approved by the state Legislator in early June may be the hope that flailing cannabis licensees need to fully transition to the regulated cannabis market. Many also remain cautiously optimistic that the grant monies also go to ensure actual equity in an industry lacking enough initiatives to support those negatively impacted by the war on drugs. Sadly, this work has remained on the backs of nonprofit and community organizations like: Cage Free Cannabis, The Social Impact Center, SuperNova Women and Equity First Alliance, to name a few.
How Will The 100 Million Be Spent & Who Will it Help?
All great questions! What we know for sure is that LA County will be the largest beneficiary of the grant monies, totaling 22 million dollars earmarked for the City of Angels. But, that money is to fund agencies to support provisional licensees stuck swimming upstream in Los Angeles’ murky regulatory waters, not to the hands of those provisional licensees who desperately need it. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose latest role includes the US Ambassador to India for the Biden Administration, very publicly endorsed the program and said it is “essential in supporting a well-regulated, equitable and sustainable cannabis market”, he told The LA Times recently. While the words he used ring true, many still wonder if it’s just politics as usual and are eager to learn just how this money will help those struggling to enter or stay in California’s regulated cannabis market.
There still isn’t enough information on the qualifications and processes for licensees and other cannabis businesses hopeful to apply for California cannabis business loans through this grant program, and many look forward to learning how their business can benefit.
“Many cannabis growers, retailers and manufacturers have struggled to make the transition from a provisional, temporary license to a permanent one renewed on an annual basis — a process that requires a costly, complicated and time-consuming review of the negative environmental effects involved in a business and a plan for reducing those harms,” reported by the Times.
Who Provides Oversight?
Yet another great question, friends! Assembly Bill 141 “consolidates the three current regulatory agencies – the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CalCannabis within the Department of Food and Agriculture, as well as the Cannabis Manufacturing branch within the Department of Public Health – into a single agency, the new Department of Cannabis Control”. This bill would establish the Department of Cannabis Control within the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency and is “required to be under the supervision and control of a director”. Much of the lengthy bill, likely with good intentions, has little mention of particular director qualifications or other oversight provisions. So the answer is, we’re not sure yet. The merger of all CA cannabis oversight and regulatory committees could be just what the industry needed. We remain curious to see how this merger, plus California cannabis business grant monies works to support California cannabis businesses across the supply chain.
What Cannabis Businesses Say
Many trade leaders in California cannabis say that this bill isn’t the kind of relief they need. While a 100 million dollar cannabis grant that could provide cannabis business loans to those in need is a lot of money, it doesn’t seem to address the problems that have plagued provisional licensees for years- regulatory hurdles, lack of access to capital, institutionalized racism and more. What California could benefit from in addition to this grant is reform.
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