SACRAMENTO 2017 – California’s laws regulating cannabis were substantially revised this year by comprehensive new legislation known as the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).
MAUCRSA establishes a uniform licensing regime for both medical and adult-use cannabis effective Jan 1, 2018. Consisting of two separate bills sponsored by the Governor’s office, SB 94 and AB 133, MAUCRSA supplants prior legislation known as MCRSA (formerly MMRSA), which applied only to medical cannabis. It also makes adjustments to California’s legalization law, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) a.k.a. Prop 64, consistent with the intent of the initiative.
Licenses under MAUCRSA are to be issued according to regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Cannabis Control and its affiliated agencies, the Department of Food and Agriculture (for cultivation) and the Department of Public Health(for manufacturing, packaging and labeling). Information is posted at the California Cannabis Portal.
Existing, non-licensed medical marijuana collectives, which are currently authorized by state law SB 420, will cease to be lawful starting one year after the Bureau posts a notice that it has begun licensing (HSC 11362.775(d-e). After that, the only gardens that will be legal without a state license will be individual personal-use gardens or collective gardens for up to five patients, subject to state law and local control. By Prop 215, medical patients and caregivers will still be entitled to grow however much is required for their personal medical needs. Non-medical growers are limited to six plants per residence by AUMA.
MAUCRSA adopts the same basic framework as MCRSA/MMRSA, but with a number of significant revisions. In particular, MAUCRSA:
– Changes references to “marijuana” to “cannabis” throughout California law and renames the chief regulatory agency the Bureau of Cannabis Control.
– Extends the basic license types in MCRSA (cultivator, manufacturer, retailer, distributor, testing) to both medical and non-medical applicants. Includes both specialty cottage and microbusiness licenses for small-scale producers. Eliminates the separate transporter license in MCRSA. Provides for large-scale cultivation licenses pursuant to AUMA (Prop 64) as of Jan 1, 2023.
– Requires separate license applications for medical and adult-use facilities, but lets applicants combine the two in the same facility.
– Authorizes the Bureau to issue 12-month temporary licenses during the transition time when licensing begins in 2018.
– Allows applicants other than testing labs and large-scale cultivators to file for any combination of licenses, repealing previous MCRSA restrictions on vertical integration. In particular, allows cultivators and manufacturers to operate as their own distributors, which was forbidden in MCRSA.
– Deletes a provision in MCRSA authorizing counties and cities to ban deliveries into their jurisdiction from state-licensed delivery services. Attorneys are uncertain as to whether such local bans are still legal. Local governments must allow transport of cannabis by licensees on public roads , but “transport” doesn’t necessarily include “delivery.” (BPC 26090(e))
– Specifies that retailers can conduct sales exclusively by delivery. (BPC 26070 (a)1)
– Repeals AUMA’s prohibition on licenses to out-of-state applicants.
– Repeals the area-based 100 square ft. per patient medical cultivation guideline from MCRSA, as well as the collective cultivation provision allowing 5 patients to grow up to 500 square feet together without a state license. However, Prop. 64 added Section 26033 to the Business and Professions Code, protecting patients and primary caregivers who cultivate an unspecified amount for themselves or no more than five patients, if they receive compensation only under Subdivision (c) of Section 11362.765 of the Health and Safety Code. Under Prop 215, patients are still entitled to grow and possess whatever amount of marijuana is consistent with their medical need, though this is subject to local limits and land-use restrictions, including bans. As previously mandated by MCRSA, California’s current SB 420 law authorizing collective medical cultivation is scheduled to sunset one year after the Bureau gives notice that it is issuing licenses (December 2018). From that point forward, unlicensed commercial medical cannabis collectives will have no explicit legal protection under California law.
– Redefines “volatile solvent” as one that “is or produces a flammable gas or vapor that, when present in the air in sufficient quantities, will create explosive or ignitable mixtures” (eliminating mention of alcohol, which was in AUMA). (HSC 11362.3)
– Authorizes existing non-profit medical cannabis corporations under SB 420 to re-organize as for-profits in conformity with the new law (BPC 26231).