California offers millions of dollars in grants to expand access to the regulated cannabis industry. the country announced last week.
cannabis control bureau Said The grant program is the first of its kind in the United States and says it will “provide resources to local governments to expand access to regulated cannabis products to underserved areas.”
the country said “Regions where national surveys have found high cannabis consumption but little or no access to legal cannabis retail outlets” will be prioritized for the “Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Subsidy.” The program “aims to encourage local best practices by prioritizing the programs it supports. It draws on equity operators and existing licensing and permitting practices.”
“The $20 million grant program will initially award up to $10 million in grants by June 20, 2023,” the department said, adding that a further $10 million will be awarded “to previous awardees who have obtained licenses.” At the time of publication, it said it would be available after June 30th.
More than six years after voters approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis and pave the way for a regulated market, California’s licensed cannabis industry is facing a difficult time.
The Value of Legal Cannabis Crops in California in 2021 plunged 40%, A report released in November said it was due to the prevalence of an illegal cannabis market in the state.
This trend has worried both legislators and regulators, who are scrambling for solutions.
Democratic Rep. Matt Haney earlier this month introduced legislation aimed at improving the state’s cannabis café experience by allowing licensed consumption lounges to serve food and drink and host live events. submitted.
“If we want this legal industry to survive in California, we have to change these laws. It’s an experience.” Haney said los angeles times“Cannabis companies have told us they may have to close their doors unless the law changes. .”
In announcing the new subsidy program last week, the state’s cannabis regulator said, “California’s lack of access to the legal cannabis market threatens consumer safety and perpetuates the illegal market.” .
“By financially supporting the creation of pathways to retail licences, and by creating incentives for consumers to gain access to legitimate retail outlets, these subsidies will help reduce illegal market activity. The aim is to reduce the number of purchases and provide consumers with access to legitimate retail outlets and regulated products,” he said.
“Expanding access to California’s retail cannabis market is critical to protecting consumer safety and supporting a balanced market,” said Nicole Elliott, director of the California Cannabis Authority. It’s a great step,” he said.
“The Retail Access Grant Program ultimately aims to encourage legal retail operations in areas where existing consumers do not have convenient access to regulated cannabis,” Elliott said. .
The department said the program is “the first time a state has provided a subsidy to provide access to retail cannabis licenses at the municipal level.”
“With more than 60% of California jurisdictions not offering a local retail license for cannabis, the Retail Access Permit Program will partner with the state to ensure consumers have adequate access to regulated cannabis. As a result, we can provide much-needed assistance to cities and counties,” the department said in a statement.
“Of the 33 counties in California that do not currently offer cannabis licenses, there are nine counties with significantly higher rates of cannabis consumption, despite having only one or zero licensed cannabis retailers. ”