California Cannabis regulators may loosen state rules to help struggling industry

With California’s licensed pot shops still struggling to compete with the illicit market and facing the new challenges of COVID-19, a state panel that advises regulators on cannabis sales recommended Wednesday that several restrictions be relaxed to give legal businesses a better shot.

The state Cannabis Advisory Committee recommended changes that included lifting the $5,000 limit on the amount of pot that can be carried by delivery vans, making it easier for small businesses to sell different products and eventually allowing food and beverages to be served in cannabis lounges. The panel included the proposals in its annual report, which it approved Wednesday.

“The state has faced unprecedented circumstances in 2020: the global COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession, a record breaking wildfire season, and the nationwide fight for racial justice and equality,” the 17-member panel said in the report.

California voters approved state licensing of growing, distributing and selling cannabis in 2016 when they approved Proposition 64, but the legal market has not lived up to expectations.

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