bureau of cannabis control

Bureau of Cannabis Control

Housed within the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau will license retailersdistributorsthird-party testing laboratories and microbusinesses.

Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch
Housed within the California Department of Public Health, MCSB will license manufacturers of cannabis products. This includes nearly all non-flower products (edibles, oils, tinctures, etc.).

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CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing
Housed within the California Department of Food & Agriculture, CalCannabis will license cultivators and implement the state’s Track-and-Trace system to record movement of cannabis from seed to sale.

Current Status

The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) creates the general framework for the regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis in California.

*NEW* Proposed Cannabis Regulations  – July 2018

California’s three state cannabis licensing authorities have announced the publication of proposed regulations in the California Regulatory Notice Register, the first step toward adopting non-emergency regulations. This publication is the start of the formal rulemaking process and marks the opening of the 45-day public comment period.

The current emergency regulations, adopted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, California Department of Public Health and California Department of Food & Agriculture in December 2017 and readopted in June 2018, were originally issued through the emergency rulemaking process to meet the legislative mandate to open California’s regulated cannabis market on January 1, 2018. These emergency regulations will remain in effect until the non-emergency rulemaking process is complete.

Readoption of Emergency Cannabis Regulation – 05/18/2018

On May 18, 2018, the Bureau of Cannabis Control, California Department of Public Health and California Department of Food and Agriculture proposed to readopt their emergency cannabis regulations. The three licensing authorities are proposed changes to the regulatory provisions to provide greater clarity to licensees and to address issues that have arisen since the emergency regulations went into effect in December 2017. Highlighted among the changes is that applicants may now complete one license application and obtain one license to conduct medicinal and adult-use cannabis activity.

These emergency cannabis regulations were officially readopted on June 4, 2018, and are now in effect as of June 6, 2018. The readopted emergency regulations will remain in effect for 180 days. During this time, the three licensing authorities will engage in the regular rulemaking process to adopt its final non-emergency regulations.


Cultivation

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will issue
17 types of cannabis cultivation licenses:

Specialty Cottage Outdoor

An outdoor cultivation site with up to 25 mature plants

Medium Indoor

An indoor cultivation site of between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet of total canopy

Specialty Cottage Indoor

An indoor cultivation site with up to 500 square feet or less of total canopy

Medium Mixed-Light

A mixed-light cultivation site of between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet of total canopy

Specialty Cottage Mixed-Light

A mixed-light cultivation site with 2,500 square feet or less of total canopy

Nursery

Cultivation of cannabis solely as a nursery (examples of typical nursery activities include cloning and seed propagation)

Specialty Outdoor

An outdoor cultivation site with 5,000 square feet or less of total canopy—or up to 50 mature plants on noncontiguous plots

Processor

A cultivation site that conducts only trimming, drying, curing, grading, or packaging of cannabis and nonmanufactured cannabis products

Specialty Indoor

An indoor cultivation site of between 501 and 5,000 square feet of total canopy

Large Outdoor

Note: CDFA will not issue any Large Outdoor licenses prior to January 1, 2023

For outdoor cultivation that uses no artificial lighting for more than 1 acre of total canopy size on one premises

Specialty Mixed-Light

A mixed-light cultivation site of between 2,501 and 5,000 square feet of total canopy

Large Indoor

Note: CDFA will not issue any Large Indoor licenses prior to January 1, 2023

For indoor cultivation that exclusively uses artificial lighting for more than 22,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises

Small Outdoor

An outdoor cultivation site of between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet of total canopy

Large Mixed-Light

Note: CDFA will not issue any Large Mixed-Light licenses prior to January 1, 2023

For cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold (which will be determined by the licensing authority) for more than 22,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises

Small Indoor

An indoor cultivation site of between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet of total canopy

Small Mixed-Light

A mixed-light cultivation site of between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet of total canopy

Medium Outdoor

An outdoor cultivation site of between 10,001 square feet and 1 acre of total canopy

Manufacturing

MCSB will offer four license types for cannabis manufacturers: 

  • Type 7 – for extraction using a volatile solvent (ex: butane, propane and hexane) 
  • Type 6 – for extraction using a mechanical method or non-volatile solvent (ex: CO2, ethanol, water, or food-grade dry ice, cooking oils or butter) 
  • Type N – for infusions
  • Type P – for packaging and labeling only

Each license type is inclusive of the types in the list below it. For example, a Type 7 licensee would be able to perform Type 6, N or P tasks. A Type 6 license could perform Type N or P tasks. A Type N licensee would be able to perform Type P tasks.

In addition to these four licenses, MCSB is developing a fifth license type, Type S, for shared-use manufacturing facilities. This license type will be for businesses and facility owners that alternate use of a manufacturing premises. More information on this license type will be available soon.

Bureau of Cannabis Control

Retailer: Sells cannabis goods to customers at its premises or by delivery. A retailer must have a licensed physical location (premises) where commercial cannabis activities are conducted.

Testing laboratory: A laboratory, facility, or entity in the state that offers or performs tests of cannabis goods. Testing laboratories must obtain and maintain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. Testing laboratories may be issued a provisional license allowing them to operate while they obtain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, provided they meet all other licensure requirements.

Retailer (nonstorefront): Sells and delivers cannabis goods to customers. A retailer (nonstorefront) must have a licensed premises, but it is not open to the public.

Microbusiness: Allows a licensee to engage in cultivation (on an area less than 10,000 square feet), manufacturing (Level 1 manufacturing, Type 6), distribution, and retail sale, or any combination of the four activities. Licensees will be required to comply with all rules and regulations, which will include, where applicable, regulations adopted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health, governing the activities they are engaged in.

Distributor: Is responsible for transporting cannabis goods, arranging for testing of cannabis goods, and conducting quality assurance review of cannabis goods to ensure they comply with all packaging and labeling requirements.

Cannabis Event Organizer: This is an annual license, with fees based on the number of events organized by the licensee per year. Cannabis events can only be held by a person who has been issued a cannabis event organizer license by the Bureau. The cannabis event organizer is not authorized to cultivate, distribute, manufacture, or sell cannabis or cannabis products unless the organizer also holds a separate license to engage in such commercial cannabis activities

Distributor transport: Allows a licensee to transport cannabis goods between licensed cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors. A licensee may not transport cannabis goods to a licensed retailer and may not engage in any other distributor activities.

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Cannabis Legislation


The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) creates the general framework for the regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis in California. The text of MAUCRSA is available on the California Legislative Information website. The three licensing authorities are currently working to draft regulations to clarify the requirements in MAUCRSA. Current and past regulatory actions by the Bureau are available below, along with other resources and information.

In 2015, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law three bills (Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643) that create a licensing and regulatory framework for medical cannabis through the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. This legislation created the Bureau of Cannabis Control within the Department of Consumer Affairs. It also divided the responsibility for state licensing between three state entities – the CA Department of Food and Agriculture, the CA Department of Public Health and the Bureau of Cannabis Control, with the Bureau designated as the lead agency in regulating the cannabis industry in California.

In June 2017, the California State Legislature passed a budget trailer bill, Senate Bill 94 (Chapter 27), that integrated MCRSA with AUMA to create the Medicinal and Adult‐Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) contained in division 10 of the Business and Professions Code (§26000 et seq.). Under MAUCRSA, a single regulatory system governs the medical and adult use cannabis industry in California.

Cannabis Legislation Documents: