Lawmakers approve cannabis licensing changes

California lawmakers delivered a budget bill to the governor’s desk on Friday that includes sweeping changes to the state’s cannabis licensing system, Marijuana Business Daily reports. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to sign the bill into law.

The bill addresses some major issues for the cannabis industry including an extension to the state’s provisional licensing program, under which the majority of the state’s cannabis businesses have been operating. The provisional licenses can now be renewed through January 1, 2025.

The legislation also consolidates the state’s three cannabis regulatory agencies into a single entity: the Department of Cannabis Control. Additionally, the bill will allow cannabis businesses to trade free samples of their products with other companies.

But Amy Jenkins, a lobbyist for the California Cannabis Industry Association, told MJBizDaily that lawmakers need to go even further or else some cannabis companies may have to shut down next year. Specifically, the legislation doesn’t fully accommodate businesses with provisional licenses who are located in certain counties with their own cannabis regulatory requirements — those businesses are still operating in limbo with no guaranteed path toward relicensing in 2022 and beyond.