California Weed Entrepreneurs Seek “Microbusiness” Licenses

California Weed Entrepreneurs Seek “Microbusiness” Licenses

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With big money moving into the cannabis industry and recreational regulation just on the horizon in California, some cultivators are concerned (to put it mildly) about the coming competition. “To me, that’s like going against Budweiser in the beer world,” Forest Gray told Leafly.

Gray is the founder of Relativity Labs, a new cannabis business that intends to deal in both cultivation and retail, a leaner business model meant to avoid competing with the Budweisers of marijuana. His ideal business model is similar to that of microbreweries, which makes sense since Gray is also the founder of successful microbrewery Speakeasy Ales & Lagers.

To own a cannabis business that does everything from growing to extraction to retail all in one location is possible under a new California licensing model called a microbusiness license. The license is made possible by SB 94, a bill passed earlier this year to help regulate medical and recreational cannabis in the state.

The cannabis microbusiness license allows businesses to grow marijuana on an area less than 10,000 square feet, process non-volatile concentrates, and sell the wares with the same license and possibly under the same roof. It may even allow on-site consumption, though that’s still up to state commissions and the scrutiny of local municipal and county regulations.

Part of the appeal of such an arrangement is that businesses need only apply for one license, ideally making the licensing process easier for small operations. But first they’ll need to obtain the license from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which has not yet released its final state regulations. They’ll also need to meet the requirements of multiple state agencies including the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Public Health.

“I don’t foresee it being an easy process for the unsophisticated applicant,” attorney Habib Bentaleb of Harris Bricken told Leafly.

The final regulations are expected to come out in November. The application process begins January 2, 2018.

Photo by Flickr user Martijn

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