Local Govs Could Soon Pass the Complexities of Cannabis Licensing On to the State

Cities and counties that wish to legalize commercial cannabis but don’t have the bureaucratic resources to do so would get help from the state under legislation introduced by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).

SB 398 would allow local governments to “rely entirely on the state’s comprehensive licensing system to authorize commercial cannabis activity in their jurisdictions.” They would not be required to adopt any kind of ordinance to regulate or license cannabis businesses at the local level.

By removing this burden from local governments, SB 398 aims to dramatically expand the number of licensed cannabis businesses in the state. Commercial cannabis is still banned in 68% of localities today. Part of that is due to antipathy toward marijuana. But some of it is a result of the complex regulatory framework cannabis requires. The outcome is a pervasive black market.

“Californians legalized cannabis four years ago, yet the state is still plagued by a multibillion-dollar illicit cannabis market. Why? Too many cities and counties don’t have the bandwidth to set up cannabis licensing and regulations,” Sen. Skinner said. “SB 398 will help cities and counties greenlight legal cannabis by allowing cannabis businesses to get their local licenses through the state.”


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