California Increasing Incentives to Get Municipalities On Board with Cannabis Licensing

California cannabis regulators are increasing eligibility for the state’s Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant in an effort to encourage the licensing of more cannabis companies in municipalities where access is limited.

Full story after the jump.

The California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is increasing eligibility for its Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant (LJRAG) along with the award amounts for municipalities that are given grants under the program. 

The LJRAG program is part of the state’s efforts to expand legal cannabis access in jurisdictions where adult-use cannabis operations do not currently exist. The Phase II funding is tied to the local jurisdiction’s issuance of local permits or licenses authorizing cannabis retail. Under the revised Phase II guidelines, eligible local jurisdictions may apply for funding regardless of whether they participated in Phase I. The DCC said the new guidelines will allow more than 300 cities and counties to pursue funding in Phase II. 

The state will award $15 million in grants under the Phase II program. Phase I awarded $4.1 million in grants to 18 cities and counties throughout the state.  

In a statement, DCC Director Nicole Elliott said “There are still many locations throughout the state where cannabis usage is notable, but existing consumers do not have convenient access to legal retail cannabis.” 

“We know that cannabis consumers often make purchasing choices based on convenience, so sufficient access to legal retail reinforces extremely important consumer safeguards.” — Elliot in a press release 

Phase II eligible applicants include jurisdictions that prior to July 1, 2022, did not have a cannabis retail licensing program in existence; have a plan to develop and implement a cannabis retail licensing program; and have issued one or more cannabis retail licenses to cannabis businesses within the jurisdiction of the city or county pursuant to that program. 

The Phase II funding amounts for the issuance of a retailer license and equity retailer license have been doubled. Jurisdictions may now receive $150,000 per eligible retailer license and $300,000 per eligible equity retailer license issued. The previous amounts were $75,000 and $150,000, respectively. 

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