On September 27, 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1459 which allows the California Department of Food and Agriculture (“CDFA”) to issue “provisional” cannabis cultivation licenses as a bridge between temporary and annual cultivation licenses. Provisional licenses act in the same manner as annual licenses, except those licenses are not renewable.
Unlike annual and temporary licenses through CDFA, there is no application for a provisional license. Rather, CDFA staff determines whether an applicant qualifies for either an annual or provisional license after the submission of an annual license.
To qualify for a provisional commercial cannabis cultivation license, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements:
- Hold, or have held, a temporary cannabis cultivation license for the same premises and the same commercial cannabis activity for which the provisional license will be issued;
- Pay the application fee for the associated license type; and
- Submit a completed state annual cultivation license application, including evidence that compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQUA”) is underway.
The determination whether compliance with the CEQUA will be based on evidence of exemption from or compliance with CEQA, as provided by the applicant in the application. If the applicant can provide evidence that CEQA compliance is underway, then CDFA may issue a provisional license.
If CEQA compliance can be demonstrated, then the CDFA will review the rest of the application for consideration of an annual license, as a provisional license will not be needed. CEQA compliance is underway if one of the following criteria is true:
- A project specific document is being prepared, which may be demonstrated through the issuance of a Notice of Preparation, early referral consultations, or a contract with a consultant to produce a document;
- The applicant is located in a county or city that has – or is working toward – a program CEQA document and the applicant has evidence he or she is engaged in the permitting process with his or her local agency;
- The applicant is located in a county or city that requires a permit issued through a discretionary review process and the applicant has evidence he or she is engaged in the permitting process with his or her local agency.
For those applicants with an interim permit from the County of Humboldt, CEQA compliance is likely underway as stated in bullet point #2 or #3 above.