CA Cannabis Regulations: What You Need to Know


Until Jan 16. of this year, the Golden State's licensed farms, retailers, manufacturers and testing labs had been following temporary emergency regulations. On Jan. 16 the state of California hit a milestone for cannabis regulation when the Office of Administrative Law solidified permanent commercial cannabis regulations. But what does it all mean!? For consumers, or friends at Leafly spelled out some things to know, which you can read about, down below. Click here to read the full article by Leafly staff.

From Leafy:

Delivery For All

All Californians 21 and over can access legal cannabis in the form of legal statewide cannabis delivery services. There are more than 100 state-licensed “non-storefront” delivery companies. The statewide delivery rule codifies existing reality. It ensures millions of Californians who voted for Proposition 64 can legally obtain taxed and tested cannabis, even in a “ban town.” California is unique among all ten legal states in allowing statewide delivery. Washington doesn’t have it. Neither do Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, or Massachusetts.

Statewide delivery gives consumers a better option than the illicit market, which thrives because about three-quarters of California municipalities ban licensed cannabis stores. Allowing delivery statewide also makes it easier for medical cannabis patients to get the relief they need.

Child-Resistant Packaging Here To Stay

Keeping kids away from THC is here to stay! The final rules mandate child-resistant packaging — at minimum that means a large, opaque, $1 zip-lock “exit” bag filled with your goods. Individual cannabis product packages...need not be child-resistant until Jan. 1, 2020.

Lab Testing Remains Strict

Labeling and purity standards for cannabis will stay super-strict under final regulations. Consumers can expect more of the cleanest flower, tightly dosed edibles, and purest extracts ever. But those rules will add costs and limit some supplies as growers, chefs, hash-makers, and labs ensure a clean supply chain.

Last July 1, shelves up and down the state went bare for weeks as supply chains rebooted to meet strict new lab testing standards. The biggest issue was accurate potency labeling. The new lab rules that went into effect Jan. 1 should not hit consumers as hard.

No State Tax Relief Consumers gripe about the state and local taxes that can run 40% higher than the illicit market. The final rules do nothing to curtail those taxes — which can only be decreased by the state legislature.

Cannabis tax reform died last year, but is expected to return in this legislative session. California Democrats have a super-majority in the legislature, setting up a fight between tax relief Dems, and more traditional tax-and-spend Dems.

One upside: some local sales and excise tax rates are starting to decline as cities begin to compete for cannabis businesses and customers. Neighboring Berkeley and Oakland are competing on sales tax now. Southern California’s rural cities are advertising zero-percent excise taxes to attract industry.

More Equity Licensing Many consumers want those who bore the brunt of the drug war’s negative effects to benefit from legalized cannabis.

The state’s final rules allow the Bureau of Cannabis Control to better focus on implementing its $10 million equity grant program to local cities and counties. The BCC will release its application form for cities and counties to get equity grants from a $10 million state fund. Equity and many other system improvements had previously been bottle-necked behind final rules and annual licensing.

More Stores, Products and Services Expect more store openings, product launches, and cannabis events in 2019. Final rules give cannabis business operators increased certainty. That’s good because uncertainty has been the death of thousands of businesses.

Local opposition to licensing has already killed more minority-owned and small businesses than any equity program will ever save, David Hua, CEO of Meadow notes.

“Last year was pretty traumatizing,” said Hua. “This year is about stabilization.”

We’ll likely see more investors who’ve been waiting on the sidelines now jump in to better capitalize existing business and create new ones. Rules will be stable from one legislative cycle to the next, and with certainty comes collaboration. “We’re seeing lots of opportunities now, looking at how things are done collaboratively across the supply chain,” Hua said.

Better Personal Data Protection Wary about giving all your data to cannabis retailers? The state of California heard you. They loosened the rules so that ordering cannabis can be done with more anonymity. Soon, the retail experience could feel more akin to a convenience store than a hospital visit. The state used to require retailers to record customer names and put that information in their records. Not anymore. “Dispensaries can still do that if they want to, but they are not required to do it,” Hua said.

Dispensaries must still check IDs to make sure you’re over 21. They must also combat trafficking by enforcing maximum purchase limits, like one ounce per person, per day. But they need not track you over time.

It should be noted that HERB has always used secure, encrypted informational exchange for our membership, and will never sell, give away or abuse your personal information.

With final rules set, attention now turns to the state legislature, where new bills covering compassionate use as well as law enforcement are expected to be introduced.

Information referenced from Leafly.com.

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