Department of Cannabis Control

As of July 12, 2021 the three agencies responsible for cannabis licensing in California have been consolidated into one. The single department in charge of all cannabis licensing in the State of California is now known as “Department of Cannabis Control” aka DCC

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.

Cannabis Regulations (Currently in Effect) – September 27, 2021
Originally California cannabis licensing was managed by three separate State agencies:

  • Bureau of Cannabis Control – dispensaries, deliveries, microbusinesses, testing labs
  • CalCannabis – cultivation and processing (post-harvest activities)
  • Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch – non-volatile, volatile, infusions and shared extraction

As of July 12, 2021 via the signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 41 the Department of Cannabis Control was established, ultimately merging the three agencies into one. Shortly after the establishment of the DCC, new emergency regulations were proposed in order to consolidate the cannabis regulations. Previously cannabis regulations in California were split up into three different sets, one set for every agency.

As of September 27, 2021 the new, single, set of regulations were approved and became effective. A link to the full set of regulations can be found here. Many things stayed the same with only references to old codes and agencies being changed. All of the licenses available remained the same. Below is a list of available license types and details of each one.


Cultivation Licenses

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) will issue
17 types of cannabis cultivation licenses:

Nursery

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

Specialty Cottage Indoor

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

Specialty Cottage Outdoor

An outdoor cultivation site with up to 25 mature plants

Specialty Cottage Mixed-Light

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

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

Specialty Indoor

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

Specialty Mixed-Light

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

Small Outdoor

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

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 Mixed-Light

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

Medium Indoor

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

Medium Outdoor

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

Large Mixed-Light

Note: DCC 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

Large Outdoor

Note: DCC 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

Large Indoor

Note: DCC 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

Processor

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

Manufacturing (extraction) Licenses

DCC will issue 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, DCC has 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.

Microbusiness, Testing Lab, Distribution & Retail Licenses

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: