Oct 2, 2020

#CampMeadowlands: California Governor's Office Cannabis Update

We are always excited about Meadowlands, the yearly conference that POS system Meadow hosts. Generally, it’s deep in the hills of the Mendocino forest. This year, due to Covid-19, the event is online. One of the best panels each year is the update from the Governor’s office on cannabis. We attended the panel yesterday and this is what we learned.

Newsom wanted operators to know that the decision to deem cannabis essential during the pandemic was one of the easiest decisions he made during the crisis. He hopes that by acting swiftly to give the designation he has shown that cannabis has his support. He also understands that cannabis is a critical medicine and constituents losing access to their medication would not be okay.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic the Governor’s office was forced to put the consolidation of the regulatory boards on hold until 2021. This means the streamlining of licensing and taxes is set to the farther future than many operators had hoped. The goal is still to create a transparent regulatory structure. That will now happen a little later than proposed. 

California entered May with a projected $54 million deficit due to the virus. Even with the odds stacked against cannabis with the “historic” decision to make cannabis essential the office was able to do several cool things:

  • $30 mil in equity grants were awarded in April
  • $30 mil in community reinvestments were possible because of cannabis
  • $30 mil in research grants were awarded

The unification of the boards didn’t happen but the office reported they did make some headway for cannabis:

  • Taxes are frozen until next year
  • They instituted a fee deferral program that a quarter of businesses acted upon
  • Creation of an Appalachian farming program

The Governor’s office believes that 2021 will not be any easier than 2020 but as we’ve all seen, cannabis will thrive and create opportunity even when the road is rough and bumpy.

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