As of April 1, 2022, what may have been mistaken for a twisted April Fools Day joke is the new reality for cannabis operators in California. CEQA compliance requirements are now yet another concern for cannabis operators to have on their radar in order to secure their state license.
Provisional cannabis licenses are no more
This comes after Assembly Bill 141 was passed in July 2021 along with Senate Bill 160. When paired together, they are referred to as the Cannabis Trailer Bill. This collective bill made March 31, 2022, the final deadline to apply for a provisional cannabis license.
The idea behind the Cannabis Trailer Bill is to jump-start the state’s transition into an annual licensure program, meaning provisional cannabis licenses would be discontinued as of the April 1st date. Along with this attempted shift comes some additional alterations to the way that operators renew a provisional license that’s already been granted in the past.
Under California’s cannabis law, the state’s licensure system uses a dual regulatory scheme. This makes a license or permit compulsory at both the state level and local level.
Another barrier to entry for the cannabis market
In accordance with these new conditions, anyone applying for a license must be in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Among other issues, the CEQA is known for being notoriously complicated and difficult to understand. It has garnered a reputation for being fraught with legal pitfalls that are all too easy to get caught in if you don’t have any experience navigating this daunting realm of cannabis regulations.
For California cannabis operators seeking their state license, there are more hoops to jump through than ever. The addition of the CEQA compliance requirement may significantly thin out the California cannabis market with this higher barrier to entry before operators are even eligible for licensure.