Cannabis entrepreneurs affected by the War on Drugs can have their license or renewal fee waived, following the approval of emergency regulations issued by the Department of Cannabis Control.

These regulations implement Senate Bill 166, signed into law on Sept. 23 which outlined broad criteria for the waivers and mandated that DCC have a fee waiver program in place by Jan. 1.

DCC will begin processing fee waiver requests on Jan. 1, and anticipates rolling out additional guidance for licensees and applicants in the coming weeks. $30 million has been set aside to fund these fee waivers.

“Access to capital is the number one challenge for equity operators, and the approval of these regulations puts much-needed financial support into the hands of businesses immediately,” said Nicole Elliott, DCC Director. “While this is a critical first step, we recognize that there is more work to be done to refine these rules. That is why DCC will immediately begin engaging directly with equity operators and stakeholders to begin the development of regulations for the permanent rulemaking package.”

Here’s what equity operators and local equity program leaders had to say about the approval of state equity fee waiver regulations:

“Equity fee waivers will allow me to create additional business opportunities in my community. High fees are a barrier to equitable participation, and I’m excited about the opportunity the state is providing.” – Ali Jamalian, Sunset Connect (Equity Business Owner)

“State fee waivers provided by SB 166 to Qualified Equity Applicants and Licensees as well as Locally Verified Equity Applicants and Licensees will provide much needed financial assistance to individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and its enforcement who are seeking to enter into the legal commercial cannabis industry.” – Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation

“The regulations developed by the Department of Cannabis Control to waive state cannabis license fees are greatly anticipated and will have an immediate and profound impact on the ability of cannabis equity businesses in California to get operational and remain operational. This is an important step towards ensuring those most impacted by the War on Drugs will be able to open their businesses and operate in the regulated cannabis marketplace.” – Sacramento Office of Cannabis Management.

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