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Exclusive: What’s Next for California’s Cannabis Control Bureau

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 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.

Federal regulations may also have an impact on California’s cannabis regulation.

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 vendorVIP 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.