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California cannabis to receive a kind $100-million boost

California’s legislature is giving the legal cannabis industry a $100 million cash in (kind) grants to cities in an effort to curtail the illicit market, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Provisional license limbo

The state legalized cannabis almost five years ago through Prop 64. But it’s been tough to compete with a thriving illicit market. Regulators hope the money can help transition the remaining 82% of the industry’s provisional license holders to annually renewed licenses — a move that’s believed to be held up by a mandated, expensive and onerous review of the environmental impacts of the business.

Cities like L.A., which is slated to receive $22 million, plan to pay for the environmental review and reduction planning process on behalf of businesses to move them over.

Buying time

In addition to paying for the environmental review, Governor Gavin Newsom also wants to extend the deadline to transition from a provisional license — a move that doesn’t sit well with environmental groups like Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy.

Will it be enough?

On the other side, critics say six months isn’t long enough for businesses to complete the review before licenses expire, which will shutter businesses. The Newsom administration acknowledged the possibility in its budget proposal.

“…it is possible that a significant number of these licensees could fall out of the legal cannabis system, significantly curtailing the state’s efforts to facilitate the transition to a legal and well-regulated market.”

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