During a recent public meeting, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) announced that they will begin accepting applications for cultivator and manufacturer cannabis licenses as early as Dec. 15. They plan to start accepting applications for retailer licenses by March 15.
The initial law passed as a ballot question in the 2020 election cycle and authorized the expansion of the state’s current medicinal cannabis program. It also opened the door for the expungement of about 360,000 cases of marijuana-related offenses. Those cases were all considered low level and involved the cancellation of fines and penalties for folks caught possessing and selling small amounts of marijuana.
As a prime sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Jamel Holley advocated for the social justice policies that shape much of the law. Holley said the goal is to give marginalized individuals who have been wrongly criminalized by past regulations not only a second chance at life, but also the opportunity to open their own businesses.
“A minimum of 20% of licenses will go to minorities, women and disabled veterans,” he said, continuing, “70% of sales tax will go back to communities in need in order to repair the harm caused by the so-called war on drugs.”
Holley also noted efforts to remove the stigma associated with minor drug offenses. “If you have been convicted of a marijuana charge in the past, you are still eligible to apply for a cannabis business license,” he said.
However, Holley agreed that the legalization process has taken quite a long time. “The CRC are doing their due diligence, but the green light is long overdue,” he said.