California plans to issue temporary marijuana business licenses

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As part of the transition to a newly regulated market, California marijuana regulators will hand out temporary business licenses to existing companies starting Jan. 1.

Lori Ajax, chief of the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, made the announcement Thursday at the California Cannabis Business Conference in Anaheim.

To qualify for a temporary permit, businesses will be required to submit some cursory information, such as contact info, the type of business and a diagram of the company’s layout.

A potential issue, however, could be a requirement for some type of formal notice that the business has already been given local approval to operate. That could be a local permit or license, but the bureau will be flexible, Ajax said, since many local governments haven’t yet finalized their own marijuana industry regulations.

Although temporary license applications likely won’t be available until December, Ajax said the provisional permits will be a stopgap for companies that are already in the industry and want to continue operating without interruption while going through the process to obtain a full state license.

“We want as smooth a transition as possible, especially for those who have been operating with local approval for a long time,” Ajax told conference attendees.

There are two caveats:

  • Temporary licenses will be good only for 120 days from issuance.
  • Once a company is granted a temporary permit, it will be required to do business only with other firms that have temporary or permanent licenses, Ajax said. She urged attendees to plan accordingly.

Ajax said companies can request either a recreational marijuana license, a medical cannabis permit or both.

Final state MJ industry regulations are expected to be released sometime in November, Ajax said, and full-length business applications likely will be available soon afterward.