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Local Retail Cannabis Programs to Be Expanded Under California’s New $20M Grant Program

Bethan Rose

by Bethan Rose

April 24, 2023 10:02 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Local Retail Cannabis Programs to Be Expanded Under California’s New $20M Grant Program

A Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant program that would aid local jurisdictions in broadening consumer access to regulated cannabis products has been set in motion by California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC). Currently, almost two-thirds of California cities and counties do not permit the development of regulated cannabis retailers within their jurisdictions. 

According to an official DCC release, the main purpose of the $20 million grant program is to employ existing licensing and permitting practices for the establishment of cannabis retail licensing programs in various regions of California where consumption rates are high, but consumers are starved of legal retail options.

Grant applications have been accepted by the DCC since March 10. Phase I of the application period – one of two grant distribution phases – will conclude on April 28.

A maximum of $10 million worth of grants will be awarded no later than June 20, before the outstanding $10 million is awarded after June 30. The remaining $10 million will only be awarded once cannabis retailer permits have been issued to the chosen jurisdictions.

“This is the first time a state has offered grants to provide access to retail cannabis licensing at the local government level,” reads an official statement from the DCC.

“With over 60 percent of California jurisdictions not offering local retail licensing for cannabis, the retail access grant program can provide much-needed assistance to cities and counties, as they partner with the state to ensure consumers have sufficient access to regulated cannabis.”

Local jurisdictions will be allowed to use the grant funds for environmental reviews, personnel costs, and permitting expenses. The DCC hopes that the program will assist with meeting consumer demand, diminish black market demand, and guarantee safe access to cannabis products.

The announcement surfaced days after California officials confirmed that they had awarded $15 million in grants to support local efforts promoting cannabis industry equity. Click here to view a complete list of Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant programs.

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Donates Over $20 Million to Limit Unlicensed Cannabis Grows

Meanwhile, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has proudly allocated more than $20 million in grant funding opportunities to curb the number of unlicensed cannabis cultivation sites and assist growers to renovate and maintain their properties. The donations have been made via the Department’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program (CRGP).

The program was made public in January, when the CDFW drew attention to the fact that illegal cannabis cultivation practices – including forbidden pesticide use, land modification, wildlife poaching, and unlawful water irrigation – have had detrimental impacts on California’s environment, wildlife, and marine life.

“We are excited about our new cannabis grant opportunities and look forward to funding a variety of projects that restore and protect California’s diverse natural resources,” said CDFW Cannabis Program Director, Amelia Wright.

Wright noted that the grants could help reduce grower costs pertaining to permitting requirements, as well as improve the design of road crossings and culverts, and amplify cleaning and remediation of illicit grow sites.

Farmers will not receive the funding. Rather, it will be allocated for government agencies, nonprofits, tribes, and various other organizations to oversee environmental projects for landowners. 

How to Submit Applications for the CRGP

Anyone who wishes to submit an application can do so using the CRGP revised Qualified Cultivator Funding Opportunity form. Applications can also be completed using the Cleanup, Remediation and Watershed Enhancement Funding Opportunity form.

Last year, almost $5 million was awarded to the CRGP in grants, all of which are funded via California’s Environmental Restoration and Protection Account pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code section 34019(f)(2). 

The number of available awards are expected to quadruple this year and funding will be available to cover the cleanup costs, remediation, and restoration of environmental destruction in watersheds impacted by cannabis cultivation and associated activities. Furthermore, local partnerships will be supported for this purpose.

If you have any questions regarding CDFW’s CRGP, send an email to or visit the CRGP website for more information at

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