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US (CA): DCC proposes regulations to provide fee waivers for equity businesses

California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) released proposed emergency regulations to provide licensing fee waivers to qualified equity businesses statewide on December 3rd. The waivers are designed to assist individuals harmed by the War on Drugs with starting and operating a cannabis business. The regulations would implement the fee waiver provisions of Senate Bill (SB) 166. DCC will start accepting fee waiver requests beginning January 1, 2022.

This statewide program provides financial support to cannabis business by waiving licensing fees if applicants and licensees meet the equity eligibility criteria set in the proposed regulation such as past cannabis convictions or arrests, reduced income, or residence in an area disproportionately impacted by past criminal justice policies, as well as other criteria.

“California continues to make significant investments to support cannabis equity businesses,” said Nicole Elliott, DCC Director. “We know access to capital remains a persistent challenge for California’s equity applicants and licensees. These waivers aim to address this challenge for those who need the most financial support, and this program reflects California’s continued efforts to create meaningful pathways to licensure for those most impacted by the War on Drugs.”

The California State Legislature allocated $30 million for equity fee waivers and deferrals and established broad statewide eligibility criteria. DCC’s proposed regulations further specify details related to eligibility. To focus efforts on immediately strengthening pathways to attain and maintain licensure for eligible businesses, DCC will focus the first year of implementation on waivers before implementing fee deferrals.

You can find the proposed text of regulations and rulemaking documents here.

For more information:
Department of Cannabis Control

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