In an aim to prop up the state’s still-struggling, legal cannabis industry, lawmakers in California on Monday approved new funding to marijuana businesses in order to stay ahead of the black and gray markets.
The $100 million package “was proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be provided as grants to cities and counties to help cannabis businesses transition from provisional to regular licenses,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles “will be the biggest beneficiary of the money,” the newspaper reported, which noted that the state’s largest city will receive $22 million. The grant money “would help cities hire experts and staff to assist businesses in completing the environmental studies and transitioning the licenses according to Los Angeles Times.
In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational pot use for adults 21 years and older. But five years later, the regulated cannabis market still lags well behind the illicit market, where marijuana is untaxed and often cheaper.
A report in 2019 found that the illicit market in California was three times larger than the regulated one. To that end, Newsom offered up a number of ideas in his budget proposal last month that sought to bolster the state’s struggling legal pot