Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, announced his introduction of a bill Wednesday to streamline the local processes of licensing cannabis retailers.
Assembly Bill 2456 would direct the state's Bureau of Cannabis Control to create a model ordinance to help cities and counties establish well-regulated cannabis retailers in their jurisdictions.
The bill is an effort to increase the density of cannabis retailers in the state, which is well behind other states that have legalized marijuana and similar products. According to Ting's office, California has one retailer for every 35,000 adults 21 years old and older while Oregon has one retailer for every 5,500 and Colorado has one retailer for every 4,200.
"It can be tough for local governments to know where to begin when establishing a relatively new type of business in their communities," Ting said in a statement. "I hope my proposal can make the start-up process easier for them, so they can combat the underground market and begin benefiting from increased tax revenue."
A study by BDS Analytics and ArcView Market Research found that illegal sales made up as much as 80 percent of cannabis sales statewide in 2018.
The bill is also supported by the United Domestic Workers of America.
"As a union of caregivers, we have thousands of members and their clients across the state who rely on cannabis to treat a wide variety of conditions," UDW Executive Director Doug Moore said.
"But because many live in localities that have banned legal cannabis, they are often forced to drive long distances or rely on the unregulated market -- dangerous options for folks who are mostly low-income people of color," Moore said.
Ting's office expects the bill to head to committee this spring.