California has a cannabis problem, in that the state is behind—waaaaay behind—in getting cannabis growers the licenses they need to grow legally.
As Marijuana Business Daily explains, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) issues these grower permits.
As of April 16, the CDFA had issued 62 annual permits, and 564 temporary grow permits known as provisional licenses.
However, by that same date, approximately 3,000 provisional licenses had expired, and by the end of the month, it’s estimated that a total of 6,000 licenses will have expired.
This is coming to a head with outdoor planting season having started, and many growers have planted in the fervent hope that a legislative fix would provide relief.
That fix is Senate Bill 67, written to extend temporary business licenses through 2019. It has passed the California Senate, and is presently in the assembly, and would need to clear several hurdles before making it to the governor’s desk.
But the clock is ticking. The aforementioned start of growing season meant outdoor growers had to decide if they were willing to take the chance and plant, risking the potential penalties by doings so, or abide by the law and lose money by missing out.
Those penalties may or may not be doled out, depending on whom you ask.
LA cannabis attorney Pamela Epstein told MJ Biz Daily that regulators have assured that if her clients stay compliant, they need not fear being targeted by law enforcement.
“If you don’t have an active state license, you’re not allowed to conduct commercial cannabis activity,” Epstein said. “That means planting, harvesting, caring for those plants. It means everything.”
And Epstein has a point—the state has begun sending out letters to those with expired or about to expire provisional licenses demanding that they cease all operations at once, according to the AP.
A rarely discussed solution is Governor Gavin Newsom’s ability and potential willingness to issue an executive order extending the provisional licenses, which would serve as an instant solution.
Be it through that method or working its way through the assembly, it seems unlikely California will allow this to develop into a situation which will throw California’s cannnabis industry into turmoil.