Local Marijuana Business Development Receives $100 Million in Support from Cali

Local Marijuana Business Development Receives $100 Million in Support from Cali

Marijuana Moment recently reported that Cali officials announced the state will give $100 million in funding to assist in the development of local marijuana markets. Partially, these efforts will be focused on fully licensing cannabis businesses.

California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) distributed these funds to 17 cities and counties that have disproportionately held provisional marijuana licenses as opposed to full-year licenses. The applications for the Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant Program opened in October following the department’s first announcement.

While business applicants were able to quickly become a part of the adult-use market with their provisional licenses, these temporary licenses were going to expire on January 1. However, legislation passed in 2021 extended this date to provide localities with more time to finish their permitting and achieve environmental demands.

At this point, the state wants to provide those jurisdictions with an additional boost using this grant funding.

“The local jurisdictions receiving grants incorporated innovative approaches to meet the specific needs of their license communities, which is exactly what we were hoping for when developing this program,” DCC Director Nicole Elliott explained. “Significant funding is being directed to process improvements and environmental assessments, both of which will help the state and local governments achieve short- and long-term goals.”

Regulators have heard from several jurisdictions. They had some serious backlogs while processing the licenses. One locality claimed that it would take as long as four years to handle all of its pending applications if it did not receive additional support.

These funds will also help areas that have social equity programs in place. The three main things this funding should help with include the following:

  • Provide more staff to handle the substantial workloads that come with transitioning businesses into the regulated cannabis market
  • Incorporate IT systems that will streamline license processing
  • Complete environmental assessments and new initiatives for renewable energy and water protection

The DCC listed several explanations for how localities state they will use the funds. These will become available once the municipalities sign off on the agreement.

For instance, Long Beach plans to use some of the funds to bring in more staff and consultants. The county believes this will allow them to streamline local permitting processes and application processing while supporting website design, applicant training, and technology improvements.

Los Angeles County plans to use the funding to bring more personnel to help licensees complete locally-administered processes that will help them achieve annual licensure while administering processes aligned with the California Environmental Quality Act. This is set to include document reviews and environmental document preparation.

“The City and County of San Francisco proposed using grant funds to create new staff positions to process cannabis permits more quickly and efficiently, which both includes and will facilitate timely completion of local CEQA review processes,” DCC announced.

On another note, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced that it would award up to $35 million for a Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions. It claims that this is something it plans to implement to “aid local equity program efforts to support equity applicants and equity licensees.”

Public agencies and local jurisdictions can receive the funding from cannabis tax revenue after the voter-approved 2016 legalization initiative stipulated this option. However, the cities and counties need to show their plans to create social equity programs or have made efforts to adopt these programs, to qualify for the funds.

What county are you in? Does it have a social equity program in place? Let us know in the comments below!

Author:
Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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