While everyone knew that California, with its sheer size, existing medical industry, and a history of strong local control, would be a difficult state to effectively implement new cannabis regulations and those initial thoughts have been proven correct. California has been one of the few, if not only, states to not meet or surpass initial revenue projections as licensing has been extremely slow. Finally, the Golden State is starting to issue annual cannabis business licenses, with Forbidden Fruit Farms qualifying for the first cultivation license and Om Edibles receiving the first manufacturing permit, as reported by Marijuana Business Daily:

The cultivation licenses were issued over the weekend by the state Department of Food and Agriculture and the manufacturing permit on Monday by the Department of Public Health, and they mark the first wave of annual permits for the vast majority of California’s marijuana companies – although a handful of annual MJ event permits had already been issued.

Until now, cannabis businesses have been operating with temporary licenses as the state prepared to implement a full annual licensing system. Many of those temporary permits are set to expire in the coming weeks.

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The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) – which oversees permitting for retailers, distributors, testing labs and microbusinesses – may begin issuing full annual licenses as soon as Nov. 1, a spokesman said.

Congratulations to all of the California entrepreneurs and businesses that manage to receive their state licenses as they have navigated a bureaucratic gauntlet. I wish that I could say that all of their difficulties are behind them, but the truth is that licensing brings about a whole host of more regulations to follow, a set of regulations that will differ among localities and could be changed the next legislative session or during future commission hearings.

However, the opportunities presented by California are unique and promising, once regulations get settled and especially once the United States ends federal prohibition. California is uniquely situated to take advantage of tourism and exporting cannabis (along with northern neighbor Oregon) across state and international lines. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in California, as well as around the world, the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 7-8, 2019, is the place to be. Don’t miss the chance to learn important info and network with top investors and entrepreneurs by purchasing your early-bird tickets by January 18th.