On Nov. 16, the state’s new Bureau of Cannabis Control, housed in the Department of Consumer Affairs, issued an emergency rulemaking in order to ensure that the state can regulate the medicinal- and adult-use cannabis businesses — from cultivation to retail sales— beginning Jan. 1.
In anticipation of both cannabis use sales, the BCC, along with the California Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch and the Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, issued the new regulations to reflect the law defined in California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
Each bureau will issue a temporary license to any business entity already in the commercial cannabis business. However, the applicant for temporary state license must possess a valid license or permit from the local jurisdiction in which the business is operating.
This restriction will prevent the state from issuing temporary licenses for cannabis businesses within the unincorporated areas of Riverside County. Currently, the county has not authorized the sale or cultivation of cannabis in unincorporated areas. However, the county is reviewing its policies and ordinances about cannabis business.
Some cities within the county, such as Palm Springs, have local permits. Permits are critical. Just two weeks ago, Palm Springs police raided a house and arrested the unpermitted occupant for growing hundreds of marijuana plants.
The state licenses will be valid for 12 months and there will be no limit on the number of licenses an applicant may possess except for the testing laboratory license. Those entities cannot also have any commercial cannabis license.
Businesses requiring a state license include retail sales, retail delivery sales, distribution, transporter, microbusinesses and testing labs.
The state will issue licenses for adult use (an A license) and for medicinal commercial cannabis (an M license).
The BCC regulations will require owners to submit fingerprints and information about any prior criminal convictions. Cannabis businesses will be required to have security measures at their licensed locations, including employee badges and security personnel.
Retail cannabis licensees’ hours will be limited to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Retailers are prohibited from labeling or packaging cannabis. This must be done before arriving at the retail site.
Also, with the arrival of 2018, California cannabis licensees “shall not transport or sell any edible cannabis product that exceeds 10 milligrams of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) per serving. Adult-use product may not exceed 100 milligrams of THC per package; however, medicinal cannabis products may exceed 100 milligrams THC per package,” according to the CDPH rule.
The licensing authorities expect the emergency regulations to be effective in December 2017.
Each agency will charge its own licensing fee. For example, CDPH will request $1,000 to process an application. The license fee will range between $2,000 and $75,000 annually. The actual fee will depend upon the gross annual revenue of the licensed premises.
A cannabis distributor will pay a fee ranging from $1,200 to $125,000, depending upon the monetary value of cannabis it distributes.
On June 27, 2017, the governor signed MAUCRSA, which creates one regulatory system for both medicinal- and adult-use cannabis.
For more information about the proposed regulations, visit the BCC website at www.bcc.ca.gov/. For information on all three licensing authorities, visit the state’s cannabis web portal at cannabis.ca.gov.