California county could expand cannabis businesses with regulatory shift

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Unincorporated San Diego County could see cannabis business expansion as licensing oversight shifts from law enforcement.

The county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the transfer of active licensees from the purview of the Sheriff’s Department to Planning and Development Services, a move expected to significantly lower fees for cannabis businesses, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The shift is expected to result in license-fee reductions from $49,460 under the Sheriff’s Department to $16,673 under the county planning agency.

After the change goes into effect Dec. 16, marijuana operators will receive prorated refunds to make up for the fee reduction.

The initiative affects only five existing license holders, which is another reflection of limited retail access and overall marijuana businesses in California.

Sheriff’s deputies were responsible for conducting employee background checks as well as safety, security and compliance inspections.

Under the new system, code enforcement officers will perform those tasks.

Meanwhile, San Diego County voters will weigh in on a cannabis tax measure on in the Nov. 8 election.

The results of that election could ultimately expand licensing to 20- 40 businesses, analysts have told MJBizDaily.