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California – Ready to Legalize Recreational Use and Regulate Commercial Activities (Part IV)

Posted by Ken Tapman on Oct 24, 2016 1:56:28 PM
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Regulation Through Licensing – Identifying the Roles of State Government Agencies

Part IV: With upcoming elections and the expansion of Canopy's cannabis startup accelerator into Berkeley and San Diego, we've followed California's regulatory environment closely. The following blog post is part of a series dissecting California’s November 8th ballot initiative commonly referred to as the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA)", or Proposition 64. Parts I and II discussed the AUMA's major objectives and next steps for regulated cannabis businesses; as well as highlighted several of the Act's provisions, such as the allowance of hemp as an agricultural product, and the Act's intensive licensing schedule; Part III reviewed where revenue will be allocated. In Part IV, we look at the agencies involved in recreational legalization.

 Administration of AUMA will be assigned to existing state agencies under the existing Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (which answers to Department of Consumer Affairs) which will be renamed the Bureau of Marijuana Control, with jurisdiction over both medical and recreational marijuana.

State control will be through a system of licenses under the jurisdiction of the state agencies listed below, with the first licenses slated for issued no later than early 2018. Whereas Colorado’s lead marijuana agency is the Department of Revenue, in California it will be the Bureau of Medical Control under the Department of Consumer Affairs.

At this time, there will be 19 licenses involving the following agencies:

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs will oversee transportation; storage unrelated to manufacturing activities; distribution; and sale of marijuana within the state via marijuana retailers, distributors, and microbusinesses
  • The Department of Food and Agriculture will manage cultivation licensing , as well as environmental protection (think water and pesticides)
  • The Department of Public Health heads up manufacturing and testing licensing
  • The State Board of Equalization will collect the special marijuana taxes, and the Controller will allocate the revenue to administer the new law and provide the funds to critical investments

The licensing authorities and the Bureau will collect fees in connection with activities they regulate. The AUMA also states that the Bureau may create additional licenses other than those named in the law, when deemed necessary.

There will also be an advisory committee appointed by the Bureau of Marijuana Control to advise on the development of standards and regulations - best practices, public safety and health guidelines and the overall regulated environment. Advisory Committee members may include representatives of the marijuana industry, labor organizations, public health experts, and members of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control because of their expertise in regulating commercial activity for adult-use of intoxicating substances.

In Part V, we'll look at how recreational marijuana will be rolled out on a local level and sum up the AUMA's finer points.

Topics: Legal