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US (CA): Department of cannabis control announces $100M local jurisdiction assistance grant program

The recently-established Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) today unveiled guidelines and application requirements for a $100 million Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant Program. The program, proposed by Governor Newsom in the 2021-2022 budget and passed by the Legislature, provides funding for local jurisdictions to aid in transitioning high numbers of provisional cannabis licenses into annual licenses.

The grant funding is intended to be used towards supporting local governments in processing substantial workloads associated with transitioning a significant number of businesses into the regulated market, creating a more streamlined local licensing process and facilitating the completion of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. Additional funding is available for jurisdictions with equity programs to further support equity provisional licensees’ pathways to annual licensure.

“The local jurisdictions eligible to receive grant funding represent areas with large numbers of small, equity and legacy cannabis businesses, including small cultivators that often have unique regulatory needs,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott.

17 cities and counties are eligible for grant funding in amounts ranging from $400,000 to $22,000,000: Adelanto, Commerce, Desert Hot Springs, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Rosa, the counties of Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Monterey, Nevada, Sonoma, and Trinity, and the City and County of San Francisco. DCC is prioritizing rapid allocation of funds to eligible jurisdictions and anticipates awarding grant funding by the end of 2021.

During the development of the grant program guidelines, DCC staff met with representatives of each eligible region to better understand the resources needed. Eligible jurisdictions were also invited to submit feedback on the guidelines, and modifications were made in response.

“Each jurisdiction is unique. The development of this program acknowledges this fact and was informed by the conversations we had with eligible jurisdictions about their specific needs,” said Elliott. “The way we have structured this program encourages jurisdictions to propose novel, innovative ways to support their local businesses in making the transition into annual licensure.” Provisional licenses were created to facilitate the transition of cannabis operators into licensure. They provide cannabis businesses with a pathway to enter and remain in the legal market while they completed local permitting processes and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements.

The provisional license program was scheduled for sunset on January 1, 2021, which would have resulted in a significant portion of cannabis businesses losing licensure and the ability to remain in the legal, regulated marketplace. Assembly Bill (AB) 141 extended the program; created rolling sunset dates, based on license and applicant type; and established specific benchmarks for the renewal of provisional licenses.

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) licenses and regulates commercial cannabis activity within California. DCC works closely with all stakeholders, including businesses and local jurisdictions, to create a sustainable legal cannabis industry and a safe and equitable marketplace. DCC develops and implements progressive cannabis policies with robust protections for public health, safety, and the environment.


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