On Thursday, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 97 in an attempt to avoid further disruption to the issuance of Annual Commercial Cannabis Licenses. The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law, and if signed would go into effect immediately.
This year thousands of commercial cannabis licenses were due to have their state-issued Temporary Licenses expire pursuant to a provision under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation Safety Act (MAUCRSA). That provision, prohibited state licensing agencies from issuing additional Temporary Licenses after December 31, 2018. Under MAUCRSA, Temporary Licenses were only valid for 120 days. Last year, the State passed Senate Bill 1459 in an attempt to extend Temporary Licenses for an additional 90 days.
However, AB-97 attempts to go further. If signed into law, AB-97 would allow any qualified applicant to obtain a Provisional License upon submittal of a completed Annual License Application. The Provisional Licenses would be valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, or until the applicable state licensing agency issues the annual license.
The licensing authorities will also have full authority to renew, revoke, or suspend Provisional Licenses.
The Bill also establishes a $30,000 administrative fine per violation to unlicensed operators in violation of the laws and regulations, and up to $5,000 per violation to a licensed operator. Any of the state licensing authorities may impose these fines - the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis Division), or the California Department of Public Health (Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch).