California cities that oppose cannabis retail stores can continue to ban them, at least for now.
A proposed state bill that would require local governments to license pot shops failed to gather enough votes to move forward, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Assemblyman Phil Ting’s AB 1356 bill would have required cities to issue one retail license for every 15,000 residents, or every six restaurants with a liquor license.
Ting vowed to reintroduce the bill next year.
It was an attempt to open access to the multibillion-dollar legal cannabis market, particularly in rural areas of California where access is limited or nonexistent. The bill was also meant to combat the illicit cannabis market, which has been growing in Los Angeles in particular.
A majority of voters in nearly 400 cities and counties voted to legalize pot via Proposition 64 in 2016. Despite that, about 75 percent of cities and 69 percent of counties have banned retail sales, according to the Times.
Legalized cannabis generated $345 million in tax revenue across the state last year, according to the Mercury News. It has created new value for real estate that can support retail sales, distribution, and cultivation operations.
L.A. legalized cannabis sales, but the illicit market has been a persistent problem. Unlicensed pot shops outnumber licensed ones despite the city’s attempts to crack down on those operations.