By the Department of Cannabis Control
Cannabis equity businesses can now request a license fee waiver from the Department of Cannabis Control.
Cannabis entrepreneurs affected by the War on Drugs can have their license or renewal fee waived, following the approval of emergency regulations issued by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC). These regulations implement Senate Bill (SB) 166, signed into law on September 23, 2021, which outlined broad criteria for the waivers and mandated that DCC have a fee waiver program in place by January 1, 2022.
“Access to capital is the number one challenge for equity operators, and the approval of these regulations puts much-needed financial support into the hands of businesses immediately,” said Nicole Elliott, DCC Director.
Fee Waiver Eligibility
The cannabis business must meet the following criteria:
- Equity ownership: Individuals who meet the equity criteria own 50% or more of the business.
- Gross revenues: The business has gross revenue of $1.5 million or less per year. If a new applicant, the business expects gross revenue of $1.5 million or less for the first year.
Equity owners must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Cannabis conviction or arrest: The owner was convicted of or arrested for a cannabis offense before November 8, 2016.
- Household income: The owner’s household income is less than or equal to 60 percent of the Area Median Income for the local jurisdiction where they live.
- Neighborhood: The owner lived for at least five years between 1980 and 2016 in an area disproportionately impacted by past criminal justice policies implementing cannabis prohibition. Learn more about qualifying neighborhoods, or use our map tool to see if you lived in a qualifying area.
If you participate in your local jurisdiction’s equity program, you can show you meet the equity criteria through an attestation on the fee waiver form. If you don’t participate in your local equity program or are in a jurisdiction without an equity program, you can submit documents to show your eligibility.
Resources for Equity Businesses:
New Web Pages
The state cannabis website, cannabis.ca.gov, has two new pages that explain the eligibility criteria and steps to request a fee waiver.
- Eligibility criteria: Describes criteria that businesses must meet to receive a fee waiver. This web page includes:
- An interactive map to help owners determine if they meet residence criteria
- A chart of area median income, by county of residence, to help owners determine household income limits
- Apply for an equity fee waiver: Outlines steps for new license applicants or existing licensees to request a fee waiver
DCC created a guidance document that describes the equity fee waiver program. The document includes:
- A description of eligibility criteria
- A list of documents that can be used to demonstrate eligibility
- Steps to request a fee waiver
Download the fee waiver request form. The form will help you submit information needed to evaluate your eligibility.