California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that will create the Department of Cannabis Control. A new agency will be responsible for overseeing all of California’s medical marijuana businesses, and it will also oversee the state’s new recreational marijuana market. Newsom plans to create the Department of Cannabis Control by merging the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation and the Bureau of Cannabis Control into a single department, the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill creating the Bureau of Cannabis Control, which will regulate and license commercial cannabis activity in the state. The legislation passed the Assembly and Senate during the 2019 legislative session and was signed by the governor in a ceremony at the California State Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday morning.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 141 (AB-141) into law on July 12, 2021, establishing the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC). The DCC will combine the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch into a single department in an effort to centralize and simplify regulatory and licensing oversight in the cannabis industry. Nicole Elliott has been named the DCC’s first Director by Governor Newsom.
The difficulties of dealing with California’s three-headed cannabis regulatory monster – such as determining which regulatory body to report to, understanding how the various regulatory bodies play into vertical integration, and keeping track of each program’s frequent updates – have hampered the success of cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses.
The DCC was established with the goal of resolving these problems. AB-141 transfers the BCC, CDFA, and CDPH’s “powers, duties, purposes, functions, responsibilities, and jurisdiction” to the DCC.
In a statement, Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Agency, said, “The state’s consolidation effort delivers on the Newsom Administration’s commitment to listen to and work with California’s legal cannabis industry to streamline participation in the legal market by offering a central point of contact for licensed operators.”
The DCC will improve license transparency in the cannabis sector as well as consolidate California’s cannabis regulatory agencies. AB-141 requires the DCC to post information on its website about the status of every license it issues, including the county where the licensee’s address of record is located. Beginning January 1, 2022, AB-141 will mandate that this material include information on license suspensions and revocations, as well as final DCC judgments. Personal identifying information, such as home addresses, home telephone numbers, dates of birth, and social security numbers, shall be prohibited under AB-141.
There are a few other notable modifications in AB-141:
- The DCC has extended the deadline for issuing and renewing temporary licenses from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022. If the applicant submits a completed license application that includes fulfilling the following criteria, the DCC may grant a provisional license.
- The applicant may show that they have complied with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or that they are in the process of doing so.
- The applicant may show that he or she is following local regulations or that they are in the process of doing so.
- Any of the following papers are required for a license application that involves cultivation.
- a final agreement on streambed modification;
- the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) supplied a draft streambed modification agreement, which was signed and returned to the DFW;
- a formal statement from the DFW stating that a streambed modification agreement is not required;
- The DFW must provide written confirmation that the applicant has filed a 1602 notification, paid all relevant fees, and is “responsive” to the DFW.
- If a cultivation license application is submitted on or after January 1, 2022, the DCC will not be able to issue a provisional license if doing so would result in the licensee holding multiple cultivation licenses on contiguous premises totaling more than one acre of total canopy for outdoor cultivation, or 22,000 square feet for mixed-light or indoor cultivation.
- Acting as a cannabis event organizer for temporary cannabis events is now included in the definition of “commercial cannabis.” The measure expands the definition of “manufacturing” to include packaging and labeling cannabis products. The term “manufacturer” would be removed from the bill’s definition.
The continuous development of the cannabis business in California necessitates the establishment of a centralized regulating agency, which AB-141 delivers. The establishment of the DCC is a good step in establishing a user-friendly system in which participants have sufficient access to resources and a better knowledge of the procedures involved in owning and operating a cannabis company in California.
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