MENDOCINO Co., 4/30/17 — Three different state agencies tasked with regulating commercial cannabis businesses released drafts of the proposed medical licensing requirements on Friday, kicking off a 45 day public comment period ending June 12. The California Department of Food and Agriculture, which will issue cultivation licenses, the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR), which oversees regulations for cannabis dispensaries, testing companies, distributors, and, and the California Department of Public Health, which will regulate manufacturers, released drafts of proposed licenses which have been developed with previous public input. They will now be collecting additional public feedback before the medical licensing regulations are finalized.
State licenses are expected to be available January 1, 2018, and will require applicants to have obtained a local license prior to receiving state approval. Some legislators have expressed concerns about potential delays in the regulatory development process, including North Coast State Senator Mike McGuire. All commercial cannabis businesses, whether medical or recreational, will require operators to have both local and state approval to legally operate, as established by both the Medical Cannabis Safety and Regulation Act passed in 2015, and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64), approved by voters in 2016. The state has also set up a new online Cannabis Portal to centralize information about the new rules.
The agencies are required to consider all public comments when crafting the final licensing requirements, and regulators have encouraged the public to let them know “what works in the field” so they can develop a licensing system that works for the many semi-legal cannabis businesses already in operation.
“The proposed licensing regulations for medical cannabis are the result of countless hours of research, stakeholder outreach, informational sessions and pre-regulatory meetings all across the state,” BMCR Chief Lori Ajax said in a April 28 press release. “And while we have done quite a bit of work and heard from thousands of people, there is still so much more to do. In order to make our program successful we still need your feedback.”
In a CDFA press release Friday, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said, “We truly want to hear from Californians who care about the cannabis cultivation licensing process. This is an opportunity to help us make sure we develop the best and most effective regulatory framework for our state. I encourage people to carefully review the proposed regulations, then tell us what you think.”
Governor Jerry Brown recently introduced a budget trailer bill intended to reconcile differences between the medical and recreational regulations, known as MCRSA and AUMA (Prop 64). If that bill passes, “the bureau will withdraw these proposed regulations and propose a new set of regulations consistent with changes in the law,” according to the BMCR press release. However, Ajax noted the public should still submit comments now, stating “Many of the provisions in the licensing regulations published today will carry over to new regulations if the trailer bill passes. Public comment now will provide valuable information and guide our efforts when crafting any new regulations.”
You can find the proposed licensing requirements for cultivation from the CDFA at the state’s new cannabis web portal, where you can also find information about how to submit public comment in writing. You can also follow the agency on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and receive updates by signing up for their announcement email list. You can read our coverage of the CDFA’s public “scoping session” on the draft regulations last fall.
CDFA will be holding a series of public workshops to collect input, including a meeting in Ukiah on May 25 at the Ukiah Conference Center from 1 – pm.
BMCR will be holding a series of public workshops to collect input, including a meeting in Eureka on June 1 from 10am – 1pm at the Adorni Center on 1011 Waterfront Drive, and a meeting in San Jose on June 13 from 1 – 4 pm at the King Library, Second Floor at 150 E. San Fernando Street.
The proposed regulations for manufacturers developed by the Department of Public Health are available here, and more information about the Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety here, where you can also sign up for the mailing list and learn how to submit written comment.
The DPH will be holding a public workshop on the draft regulations to collect public comment both in writing and verbally in Santa Rosa on June 8 at 10am, at 50 D Street, Rm. 410A/410B.
The Mendocino Voice will be reporting on these meetings as they occur as well as continuing our coverage of local and statewide cannabis regulatory developments. You can find more information on our cannabis compliance resource here.