Introduction to Cannabis in California

California has had a commercial cannabis market since 1996 after the passage of the Compassionate Use Act. The Compassionate Use Act is commonly referred to as “Proposition 215” or “Prop. 215” by practitioners. It is codified in California’s Health and Safety Code in Section 11362.5. 

In November of 2016, an adult-use cannabis market was established in California after the passage of The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (A.K.A. “Prop. 64”). In June of 2017, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (A.K.A. “MAUCRSA”) passed and combined the adult and medical cannabis markets and established a commercial framework. Final regulations were eventually passed in January of 2019.

Three separate state agencies previously regulated and licensed cannabis companies in California:

  1. Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”)
  2. Department of Food and Agriculture (“CDFA”)
  3. Department of Public Health (“CDPH”)

As of July 2021, the three agencies above have consolidated into one agency: the Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”). The DCC is currently in the process of consolidating the three prior sets of cannabis regulations into one. Three licensing teams will also be consolidated into one in the future.

Cosmetic changes made to the three prior agencies’ regulations can be viewed here:

Stakeholders should also be on the lookout for new or updated regulations. If and when any new or updated regulations are proposed by the State, the public will have 45 days to comment on the proposed regulations. Be sure to check back for updates!

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