California Opens $20M Cannabis Retail Grant Program

California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) launched its Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant program to assist local jurisdictions in expanding consumer access to regulated cannabis products.

The $20 million grant program will utilize existing licensing and permitting practices to develop and implement cannabis retail licensing programs in areas of California where cannabis consumption is high but consumers have little to no access to legal retail, according to a DCC release.

DCC will begin accepting grant applications on March 10. Grant funds will be distributed in two phases, with the application period for Phase I funding ending April 28.

The grant program will initially award up to $10 million in grants by June 20, with the remaining $10 million to be made available after June 30 once the awarded jurisdictions issue cannabis retailer permits. Local jurisdictions can use grant funds for permitting expenses, personnel costs, environmental reviews, and more. A complete list of Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant program guidelines can be found here.

DCC says the goal of this grant program is to establish enough cannabis retail stores in the state to meet consumer demand while, in turn, providing safe access to cannabis products and reducing illicit market demand.

Sixty-one percent of California cities and counties do not allow for retail cannabis businesses, according to DCC, and 56 percent of cities and counties do not allow for any type of cannabis business. This patchwork of legal cannabis access both threatens consumer safety and perpetuates the illegal market, DCC says.

“Expanding access to California’s retail cannabis market is an important step towards protecting consumer safety and supporting a balanced market,” DCC Director Nicole Elliott said. “The retail access grant program ultimately seeks to encourage legal retail operations in areas where existing consumers do not have convenient access to regulated cannabis.”

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Zach Mentz

Zach Mentz is an editor at Flavor Fix, covering cannabis, CBD and alcohol news and featured stories. Previously, he worked as senior editor of Cannabis Business Times (CBT). Mentz is a graduate of the Tim Russert Department of Communication at John Carroll University.

1 Comment
  1. The demand for cannabis stores is increasing. In a New York state survey it was found that people think cannabis is safer than alcohol and they want more retail outlets for purchasing cannabis-related products. Now this article states something similar. Californians consume higher proportions of cannabis products but there are not enough stores to buy. I can understand why the government is willing to give grants to open more stores. It will get back 10 times that money from the stores through sales tax.

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