(This story has been updated to include comments from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.)
A California Senate panel on Wednesday advanced a bill – dubbed a “Band-Aid” by one sponsor – in a last-minute bid to prevent thousands of marijuana companies from being temporarily forced out of the legal market and causing chaos in the state’s marijuana supply chain.
But the move is likely to be in vain, at least in the short term.
Temporary licenses – on which the entire legal market operated throughout 2018 – have already begun to expire, while licensees continue to wait for full annual permits.
The measure, Senate Bill 67, would give more leeway to the three state agencies responsible for licensing marijuana companies.“Without passage of this bill, there will be dire consequences, such as the imminent market collapse of hundreds of businesses,” Terra Carver, the executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, told lawmakers on Wednesday.
In particular, the bill would allow licensing authorities to extend existing temporary licenses, thereby letting companies continue doing business as normal while their applications for full annual permits are processed.
However, the three state agencies – California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and Department of Public Health (DPH) – have failed to move quickly enough to process the backlog of provisional or annual license applications. Moreover, the temporary licenses can no longer be renewed or extended.
As a result, some of the companies operating with temporary licenses have watched their permits expire.
Looking ahead, companies with only temporary permits will technically be banned from doing business once their temporary permits are no longer valid – a scenario that could result in lost income for businesses and product shortages.
Published: February 28, 2019
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