JANUARY 2022 - Capitol Corner
On Monday, the Governor released his proposed $286 billion 2022-23 budget. The Budget includes $13.6 million Cannabis Tax Fund in 2022-23 to fund the following proposals for the Department of Cannabis Control:
• Unified Licensing System—$5.5 million to begin the planning process for a single licensing system for all license types, and to begin the process of transitioning a portion of the existing licensing data to support the eventual transition of all data into a unified system. To prioritize stability during consolidation, the Department has maintained the three legacy licensing systems. This early effort in support of a unified system for all license types will continue simplifying and streamlining participation in the legal market and collect, analyze, and share licensing-related data to support the administration of cannabis requirements.
• Data Warehouse—$2 million to develop a data warehouse to store and query Department data, appropriate processes and procedures to maintain data integrity, and data displays and visualizations for the Department’s website. This investment will enable the Department to analyze and share licensing and compliance data with state partners and public stakeholders, help inform the development of policies related to the state’s regulatory framework, and support external decision making by stakeholders such as licensees and local governments
• Consumer Awareness Campaign—$6.1 million to launch a multi-year consumer education and awareness campaign. A key tenant of the cannabis framework is consumer safety and awareness. As the cannabis market continues to expand, and as illegal cannabis activity remains persistent, it is important that the public have access to information on how to identify licensed, legal operators and products. Further, it is also critical that consumers understand what products are safe, the benefits of purchasing from the legal market, and the potential public safety and health threats of purchasing from the illegal market.
The Administration intends to further develop a grant program this spring that will aid local governments in, at a minimum, opening up legal retail access to consumers. Further, the Administration supports cannabis tax reform and plans to work with the Legislature to make modifications to California’s cannabis tax policy to help stabilize the market; better support California’s small licensed operators; and strengthen compliance with state law.
Local Governments Receive $100 million in Assistance Grants for Legal Cannabis
Seventeen cities and counties have received a total of $100 million in state funds to help transition local cannabis businesses to the legal market. This is part of a state grant program announced by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) in October.
The recipients have the highest number of provisional licenses in the state. The funds will help get those cannabis businesses fully licensed by providing for additional staffing, IT systems, and the completion of environmental assessments.
Additionally, “the local jurisdictions receiving grants incorporated innovative approaches to meet the specific needs of their license communities, which is exactly what we were hoping for when developing this program,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott. “Significant funding is being directed to process improvements and environmental assessments, both of which will help the state and local governments achieve short- and long-term goals.”
Monterey County received $1.737 million.