Everyone with experience in the cannabis industry learned very quickly that legalizing cannabis across the state is just one part of the political and business battle. After months of wrangling over state rules and regulations, localities then get their say, with some areas welcoming new jobs and revenue more openly than others while some even ban retail businesses altogether (while sometimes changing their minds down the road). California is no different as cannabis businesses are finding out in cities and counties across the Golden State. Companies in San Diego are now working hard to fill out the very last slots for the 40 licenses that will be allowed in the area.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

San Diego’s local supply chain for its marijuana dispensaries is quickly taking shape, but approvals for indoor pot farms and edible factories are becoming more contentious as the city nears a cap it set of allowing 40 such businesses.

The city has awarded permits to nearly 30 marijuana production facilities since August, setting up a fierce battle for the final wave of permits among 31 more applicants.

Those not among the first 40 to be granted environmental exemptions and city approval hearings have begun trying to leapfrog the other businesses ahead of them in line by appealing their exemptions and preliminary approvals.

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Meanwhile, leaders of the local marijuana industry say they’re hopeful the city might increase the number of marijuana production businesses it allows beyond 40.

While becoming one of the first entries into the San Diego market is certainly desirable, those left out of the initial licensing process should not lose all hope. As the Union-Tribune notes, the San Diego City Council will likely move towards a more progressive stance on cannabis following the November 6th election, opening up the possibility that more licenses will be awarded. San Diego would be wise to find the right balance of retail licenses as it is in the city’s interest to avoid staggering lines and supply shortages while at the same time not crashing prices so dramatically that small businesses find it too difficult to stay in the market.

Those in the California marijuana market in San Diego, or any other locality, would be wise to attend the next International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco February 7th-8th, to ask questions of the top regulators in the state and to network with prominent investors and entrepreneurs in California and across the world. Secure your spot and save by purchasing early-bird tickets by January 18th. After San Francisco, the ICBC will be heading to Barcelona, Spain, on March 14th and then returning to Berlin, Germany, on March 31st to April 2nd. Stay tuned for more exciting ICBC destinations in the near future.