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Governor Newsom wants to simplify cannabis regulations and licensing

Cannabis licensing, regulatory control could soon be under one state agency
Posted at 6:49 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 22:39:18-05

Governor Gavin Newsom wants to consolidate multiple state agencies into one department to simplify the licensing and regulatory oversight of the commercial cannabis industry.

Governor Newsom says it would be called the Department of Cannabis Control.

It is all in an effort to centralize regulators for license holders and local governments.

"I do think that stream lining this is probably a good idea," said Todd Mitchell, co-owner of Seaweed in Lompoc.

The department would replace three existing agencies... the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CalCannabis, and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch.

While the proposed department is still in the works, some are wondering what will happen to existing regulations and agencies already in place.

"It is challenging to meet the different restrictions and requirements... yet it is doable, so I don't think that will have a large barring on the city or the county itself," said Mitchell.

The proposal also calls for changing the way the state collects both cultivation and excise taxes for cannabis products.

According to the budget summary, one tax would be collected by the first distributor instead of the last distributor, the other tax would be collected by retailers.

Some say even with the simpler tax system, many will still turn to the illicit market to avoid the high taxes currently in place.

"It is something they should work on... talk about more and maybe try to implement in the very near future," said one cannabis consumer.

In a statement to KSBY, the Bureau of Cannabis Control said:

"The Governor's announcement on Friday shows that the administration is listening to feedback from industry stakeholders and is willing to make changes where necessary to help the supply chain run smoothly."

If all goes as planned, more details on the proposal may come this spring with the consolidation happening by July of 2021.

KSBY did reach out to officials in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties but have not heard back.