SEPTEMBER 30, 2015: On September 11, the California state legislature passed a trio of bills, collectively known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), which together create an entirely new regulatory framework for medical cannabis. This is the first time in nearly two decades since Californians first voted to legalize marijuana for medical use that statewide regulations for the industry have been created. Governor Brown is expected to sign the bills into law by October 11, and the law would go into effect on January 1, 2016. However, it will take some time to set up the necessary agencies and systems, so facilities currently operating in accordance with state law may continue doing so in the interim while their new applications are pending.
The MMRSA creates a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation within the Department of Consumer Affairs, which will create a comprehensive tracking system for medical cannabis as well as determine the rules related to issuing licenses. The Act also creates a comprehensive licensing scheme with 12 different license types covering cultivation, manufacturing, retail sale, transport, distribution, delivery, and testing. The Department of Consumer Affairs, Department of Public Health, and Department of Food & Agriculture will all issue various types of licenses, and other state agencies will be involved as well. Some additional key provisions include: safeguards against vertical integration (with some exceptions), allowing for-profit entities, new packaging requirements, environmental regulations, the ability for counties to tax medical marijuana activities, and size limits on patient and caregiver gardens. Both local and state approval will be necessary to operate a medical cannabis business.
We know this new framework can seem daunting, but we’re here to help you navigate the process and obtain the necessary licenses. Call or email us with your questions today!