The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) rolled out a data visualization tool that will help consumers see where they can purchase safe and legal cannabis products from licensed retailers, inform business owners about which cities and counties license cannabis businesses, and support ongoing conversations about access to California’s safe and legal market.
Using data compiled by DCC staff in February 2022 and working closely with the California Office of Digital Innovation, the map shows that only 44 percent of cities and counties allow the licensing of at least one cannabis business type, while 56 percent of cities and counties prohibit the licensing of all cannabis business types. And even more cities and counties – 62 percent – prohibit the licensing of any form of cannabis retail.
“This data helps Californians understand the work we have ahead of us in realizing the promises of cannabis legalization, including supporting access to a safe, legal, and equitable cannabis market across the state and combating the unregulated, illicit market,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott.
The webpage, which includes a map, statewide statistics, and a search function, underscores challenges to licensing access more than five years after Californians voted to legalize the right for individuals 21 years of age and over to possess and grow specified amounts of cannabis for recreational use. The DCC cannot approve an application for a state license if approval of the license would violate the provisions of any local ordinance or regulation, making access dependent on local participation.
The DCC obtained this data by reviewing local ordinances and information provided on local jurisdiction websites, and by contacting some local jurisdictions directly. The Department recommends that those interested in starting a cannabis business contact their local jurisdiction directly for information about specific requirements. If you’re a city or county official and think your data is not correct, please email the DCC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May Revision Budget Proposal includes a one-time $20.5 million allocation to establish a cannabis local jurisdiction retail access grant program. The goal of this grant program is to aid localities with the development and implementation of local retail licensing programs and to support consumers in gaining access to regulated and tested products through the expansion of California’s legal marketplace into the 62 percent of jurisdictions that currently provide no retail licensing opportunities. More information can be found on page 138 of the May Revision.
The data tool is in its first iteration and will be updated on an ongoing basis, with the Department welcoming feedback from stakeholders on how to improve the functionality, presentation, and resources. It also represents the first in a series of data projects DCC plans to roll out as it develops further tools to store, refine, and analyze licensing and compliance data, and to share that data with the public.
The DCC licenses and regulates commercial cannabis activity within California and works closely with all stakeholders, including businesses and local jurisdictions to create a sustainable legal cannabis industry and a safe and equitable marketplace. The DCC develops and implements progressive cannabis policies with robust protections for public health, safety, and the environment. The DCC was formed in 2021 by merging the three state programs previously responsible for regulating commercial cannabis activity.