In one fell swoop, California suspended nearly 400 cannabis business licenses on November 1.
Roughly 10% of legal cannabis stores and 20% of legal delivery services in the state have been affected by the move, which has prompted outrage from parts of the industry and shrugs from parts of the state government.
Though as of Wednesday some licenses had been reinstated, 385 marijuana businesses were still suspended, including 63 retailers, 61 delivery services, 47 microbusinesses, 185 distributors, and 29 transporters.
The suspended businesses have been ordered to cease all sales until their licenses are reactivated.
The suspensions came about due to failure to comply with the state regulations, in particular the requirement to sign up for Metric, an online track-and-trace program which monitors cannabis sales in multiple states.
According to representatives from California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the mandatory registration and training for Metric takes about three hours to complete, and businesses were given multiple reminders of the requirement.
Alex Traverso, a spokesperson for the BCC, told MJ Biz Dailythat 2,236 other licensed cannabis businesses in the state had complied.
“These were just the stragglers,” he said. “It turned out to be a couple extra months that we gave them. It’s just a matter of getting a password, getting a login and doing the training.”
Unsurprisingly, not everyone’s super happy with the mass suspension.
“It’s very concerning,” said Josh Drayton, communications director for the California Cannabis Industry Association.
“There’s a huge pause right now. … We’re kind of incentivizing the illicit market, which is a much more affordable option right now [for consumers]. What we really need to be focused on is access and affordability.”
Others have advised that those in the cannabis business not get their underthings in a twist. Jackie McGowan, a marijuana consultant out of Sacramento, said the suspensions don’t matter because the state’s regulation is so ineffective. She points out that the Metric program still allows businesses to keep selling their wares whether they have an active license or not.
“I don’t see this being any disruption to the supply chain, unless any of those operators decide to shut down for some reason,” she said.
If she’s right, we can all take comfort in knowing that cannabis businesses can go on being negligent in their operations, since the state government is equally negligent in theirs.
Photo via Flickr/pirate_renee