California’s marijuana growers are at risk of losing thousands of dollars in revenue as scores of temporary business licenses expire each day before the state can replace them with annual permits.
That leaves many cultivators trapped in a licensing logjam with a difficult choice: Continue operating with expired permits – or shut down.
This is the beginning of the outdoor cultivation season, and many growers went ahead and planted despite knowing their temporary licenses were set to expire – holding out hope that state regulators would speed up the licensing process and issue annual permits posthaste.
That largely hasn’t happened. And lawmakers in Sacramento have yet to pass a legislative fix.
“I do believe the state will get our license approved in time,” said Wendy Kornberg, CEO of Sunnabis, a cultivator in southern Humboldt County with temporary licenses expiring April 17.As of April 16, roughly 3,000 temporary cultivation permits had expired and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) had issued only 62 annual licenses and 564 provisional permits.
“I have to believe that, otherwise we lose everything. I would lose my home. I would lose my land. I would lose my farm. We would have nothing left.”
Senate Bill 67, which would amend a section of the California Business and Professions Code to extend temporary business licenses until the end of 2019, passed in the state Senate earlier this month and moved to the Assembly. But it hasn’t yet been assigned to a policy committee.
The state Legislature is on recess until April 22, and industry analysts don’t expect a committee vote before April 29.
Then the measure will need fiscal committee and floor votes before landing on the governor’s desk.
Industry watchers expect more than 6,000 temporary cultivation licenses will expire by the end of April.
‘No choice but to grow’
Mikal Jakubal owns Plant Humboldt, a cannabis nursery in Humboldt County. His temporary licenses expired March 31, but he’s still operating.
Published: April 17, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News