Despite concerns around delays and federal intervention, California’s cannabis industry is moving forward with cannabis legalization with a rapidly approaching January 1, 2018 start date. During the recent California Cannabis Business Conference, Lori Ajax of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (CBCC) announced a temporary licensing structure designed to help the state, and business owners, transition the world’s largest medical cannabis industry to adult use efficiently, and most importantly, on time. Though Ajax was unable to provide exact details on the applications, there are a few things interested parties should note:
The licenses are temporary. Based on trends in other markets, the application and license process is likely to change after a temporary license has been granted. If that happens, licensees will likely need to take additional steps to procure a final license. The same was true for Nevada when the state issued temporary licenses back in July.
Applicants can seek a license for medical, adult use, or both. The temporary licensees will apply to both medical and adult use cannabis operations. Once permitted, licensees would be required to only do business with other licensed businesses.
Temporary licenses will last for four months. If necessary, the CBCC can extend a temporary license at their discretion. According to Ajax, their goal is to allow approved licensees to continue operating if the state becomes inundated with applications.
Temporary license applications will be available in early December. No official date has been released; applications are expected to be available on the CBCC website.
To even be considered, you’ll need local approval first. The CBCC will require applicants to receive local authorization, as defined by their community, prior to receiving a temporary license. Local authorization is purposefully vague allowing different regions the freedom and flexibility to determine their own requirements.
Have basic business paperwork prepared. Applicants should have recent copies of incorporation paperwork, site schemes identifying entry points and security features, and background information of potential owner/operators ready for their application. Ajax knows the program is operating under a tight guideline and stressed that the necessary paperwork will not be a burden for applicants.
The CBCC is committed to a successful implementation. The bureau is taking considerable steps to ensure legal cannabis operators are licensed on January 1, 2018. In addition to creating the temporary licenses, the CBCC will be conducting licensing workshops throughout the state beginning in October.
The information provided will certainly help potential applicants prepare, but until official paperwork becomes available, applicants should focus on obtaining local approval and securing all necessary permits, background checks, site approvals, seed-to-sale systems, and anything else you’re able to gather ahead of time so that you can take advantage of a short timeline when the applications are released. The CBCC FAQ can be found here.