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California Cannabis Regulations Starting To Enter Permanent Phase

 By Roger Malespin photo/istock/littleny

Since voters in California passed the Adult Use Of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) in November of 2016, state agencies have gone through several rounds of emergency regulations trying to make the transition from a black and grey market to a fully regulated state-run operation. Some of the more contentious issues for retailers were on the table in this last round, proposed this past Friday, include more freedom for deliveries, more potency allowed in edibles, and stricter rules for advertisements. These latest rules are aiming to be the first permanent ones put in place, no longer having ‘emergency’ status.
The main California state agencies that oversee the industry are the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), Department of Food and Agriculture,  and Department of Public Health and Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA).

“This is about seven months of listening, going to meetings and events and all of these town halls and summits, and hearing what people had to say about how the emergency regulations were working or not working,” said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control, which oversees marijuana retailers, distributors, event promoters and lab testers.

Perhaps the issue most concerning to California retailers is that of delivery. It’s widely known that towns are allowed to decide if cannabis can be sold within their jurisdiction, even if it can be sold legally at state level. However, this also extended to having product delivered in the same limits, which retailers said puts and unfair burden on their business. The new recommended regulation allows deliveries to be allowed in any jurisdiction in California. This will save business owners, who are already operating at a loss for the short term, thousands of dollars a year in extra delivery expenses.

Medical marijuana patients also had an important stake in the proposals. One of the rules focuses on the level of potency allowed in non-smoking products for those on prescription cannabis. The earlier emergency rules permitted a maximum of 100 milligrams of THC. Under the new proposal, that will be raised to 500 mg for dissolvable edibles such as lozenges and moth strips, so long as the person has a medical marijuana prescription and doctor’s recommendation.

There are also a number of tweaks to advertisement rules, mostly aimed at reducing what could be interpreted as advertisements geared towards minors. Retailers will no longer be able to advertise free products on product packaging, for example.

Overall, the rules are more clarification of older language than they are new ones, and do benefit the retailers and consumers. Loosening rules for delivery, distribution, and lab testing and labeling requirements will no doubt help businesses save money and will allow product to flow safely and freely to law abiding consumers. It can be frustrating to deal with the slow process of bureaucracy, but these are the necessary growing pains of implementing a legal cannabis industry. What is happening in California should be observed and understood by anyone interested in the cannabis industry because it serves as a model for the way rules will be implemented in other states soon.

You visit https://cannabis.ca.gov/ for more information on these regulations and all other information about cannabis in California.