Report: California marijuana growers lagging in licensing process

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Nearly two months after California launched recreational marijuana sales, less than 1% of the state’s known growers have been licensed, according to a report released by a cannabis industry group.

According to a 38-page report from the California Growers Association, 0.78%, or 534, of an estimated 68,150 marijuana growers were licensed by the state as of Feb. 7.

The association cited such obstacles to licensing as cost and regulatory barriers.

If more of the state’s smaller, independent growers don’t get licensed, the black market will continue to flourish, according to the association’s report.

“The current system will not achieve its goals without fundamental and structural changes that allow small and independent businesses to enter into compliance,” the report concluded.

About 100 growers expressed their concerns with California’s cannabis regulations during a Jan. 12 meeting with three cannabis regulators.

The growers association said it hopes to work with officials in getting more growers licensed.

“We must develop a regulatory framework that will effectively curb the environmental and public safety impacts of cannabis by providing pathways to compliance for businesses currently operating in the unregulated market,” said Hezekiah Allen, the group’s executive director.

“If they are unable to comply, the unregulated market is likely to persist and there will be an unnecessary strain on law enforcement resources.”

According to Marijuana Business Daily estimates, California’s adult-use industry – which launched Jan. 1 – could generate at least $4 billion in annual retail sales over the next few years.

– Associated Press