It’s been a few years since California rolled out its cannabis licensing and tax program. But the state is still ironing out the kinks.
As of now the state has issued 12,691 licenses, three-quarters of which are provisional, used by cannabis businesses to operate until they get their annual licenses.
Yet part of what the state acknowledges from the backlog of these temporary permits is the overwhelming amount of paperwork required of applicants to get their applications processed.
The California Department of Cannabis Control is stretched thin and buried in paperwork in three different databases. As a result, it’s unable at this point to provide a comparison of how many provisional licenses it has managed from one year to the next.
Just this year, the department absorbed a spike in applications between February and March. The total number of applications the state received in March amounted to 1,210, in comparison to 338 in the prior month.
“We see a large licensing pool, more than what we anticipated,” department Director Nicole Elliott said.
The majority (2,983) of the 3,951 “permanent” licenses issued are for cultivation businesses. This could mean disgruntled growers still seek legal status, despite being upset with the state because they believe they’re overtaxed.
Small growers have until June 30 to turn in applications to the state. They’re defined as those growing in less than 22,000 square feet in mixed-light indoor environments and 20,000 square feet for outdoor settings. Licenses will be issued by Sept. 30.
When Proposition 64 made adult recreational cannabis legal in 2016, the passage resulted in the state establishing a system to manage the industry.
That included requiring an applicant to submit an application for a license. If more compliance issues need to be worked out or more review completed, the state will issue a provisional until an annual license is issued.
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