California pursues stopgap plan to issue provisional cannabis licenses

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California regulators are moving ahead with a second round of nonpermanent licensing to allow marijuana companies to continue operating without a permanent license while state and local officials process a backlog of permit applications.

The move is intended to help California’s MJ industry avoid supply disruptions, The Orange County Register reported.

State Senate Bill 1459, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 27, will allow cannabis companies to apply for provisional licenses as their temporary permits start expiring at the end of the year.

The provisional licenses, which are good for a year, will buy state and local regulators time to process the glut of applications and give the state time to a roll out a full annual licensing system, the newspaper noted.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Applicants will need a temporary cannabis business license to receive a provisional permit and must have submitted an application for an annual license.
  • Businesses will be required to adhere to the state’s traceability system, Metrc.
  • Humboldt County officials issued a statement in support of the provisional licensing plan, saying that letting licenses expire would be a mistake for reasons related to the environment and the black market.
  • The state has yet to issue any annual permits.
  • Roughly 6,500 businesses across the state have temporary licenses; about 75% of those are grower permits.
  • The last temporary licenses will expire at the end of March 2019, and once that happens, any business without a provisional or annual license must cease operations.