By Kayla Nick-Kearney – February 16, 2018
After sprinting to the Jan. 1 deadline for a minimally viable licensing rollout with several other agencies, the Cannabis Control Bureau (CBC) still has work to do.
“We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we had the basics for people to be able to apply for licenses and for us to issue,” CBC chief Lori Ajax told Techwire in an exclusive interview. “What you’re going to see over the next six months, each month we’re going to introduce new enhancements to the system.”
Procurement began in April and license issuing began in December. More than 3,000 licenses have been issued to cannabis businesses – and applications are still being processed.
The cannabis industry, thanks to recent legalization bills and rapid acceptance of the drug across the country, seems to be poised for expansion and shows an upward growth trajectory.
The market value of the U.S. cannabis industry is projected to reach around $30 billion annually by 2025, according to various industry studies conducted by ardent researchers.
Looking at the recent positive steps taken by government bodies and now, the CBC, to allow cannabis businesses to operate in legalized states, it would be a good time for entrepreneurs to consider entering the market. Business blogs like Tycoon Story can throw more light on how to succeed in this growing, exciting new industry.
Meanwhile, the CBC is looking at doing everything in its power to accelerate the process of issuing licenses and tweaking regulations for ease of business.
“The bureau was involved every step of the way because this had to fit our business needs,” Ajax said.
And improvements to that system are coming, she promised.
“Obviously, because we’re only located in Sacramento and we haven’t established regional offices, it was imperative that we be able to take applications online so people can be anywhere and submit,” she explained.
A public portal, GIS-based technology and location filter searches are coming.
The technology may have other modifications, depending on how the regulations are finalized since systems have been stood up based on emergency regulations. Regulations are partially dependent on the Cannabis Advisory Committee, which is expected to make recommendations on March 15.
Security, hours or operation and equity are all part of the regulation discussion.
Knowledge transfer and data gathering are next on the bureau’s list. The bureau would like to be able to answer questions about job creation and economic impact related to cannabis by filtering through licensing information.
The bureau will keep the current integrator vendor, VIP for two more fiscal years. In the meantime, employees will be trained in the Accela software so they can maintain the system after that, Ajax said.