Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 51 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), which will promote greater diversity in California’s cannabis industry. Specifically, SB 51 will allow the Department of Cannabis Control to issue provisional licenses for local cannabis retail equity applicants.
A provisional license enables applicants to conduct business while completing the requirements for an annual license, and eventually become a fully licensed participant in the cannabis retail market.
“For California’s legal cannabis market to succeed, it must look like California,” said Bradford. “Right now, it doesn’t. Time and time again, I hear from community members who are being boxed out of the industry. Equity applicants deserve an opportunity to stand up a business, obtain a license, and participate in the market. I am grateful to the Governor for signing this legislation and look forward to seeing the renewal of this important program.”
In 2018, Senator Bradford authored SB 1294, the California Cannabis Equity Act, which became law and enabled individuals from diverse backgrounds and underserved communities to participate in California’s legalized cannabis industry. But regulations for an annual license have proven to be a challenge for equity applicants, demonstrating a need for the provisional licensing program authorized by SB 51.
“The continued lack of minority representation in this industry is beyond troubling,” Bradford continued. “There is a disproportionate population of minorities that were impacted by the war on drugs do to cannabis-related charges that are now moot because of the passage of Proposition 64 and the legalization of cannabis in California. SB 51 gives those victimized by past policies an opportunity to participate in the legal market”.
SB 51 will become law on January 1, 2024.