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California announces $20 million grant program to expand cannabis retail licensing in underserved areas

California cannabis regulators announced that the state is launching a first-of-its-kind grant program to support cities and counties in establishing local cannabis business licensing programs to address unmet consumer demand and help curb the illicit market.

The Department of Cannabis Control’s (DCC) Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant will provide $20 million in funding to localities across the state, prioritizing those where surveys show a disconnect between the availability of licensed retailers and rates of cannabis use among adults.

Local governments are eligible if they currently have no retail licensing programs but plan to develop and implement one. Jurisdictions that intend to support equity-centric licensing policies will also be prioritized.

DCC has already identified 18 counties throughout the state where “the proportion of licensed cannabis retail outlets is low compared to its share of consumer consumption,” including Fresno County, Orange County, and San Diego County.

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