Earlier this week, the Department of Cannabis Control released its proposed emergency regulations to streamline licensing in the cannabis industry under one roof at the state level.
Upon publishing the proposed rule changes, the DCC noted that this was the second and most significant move the division took since its inception on July 12 to take control of the licensing and regulation of commercial cannabis activities in California.
The move is the result of Bill 141 of the Assembly. The bill’s authors knew that the division of responsibilities between the Department of Consumer Affairs’s Cannabis Control Bureau, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the State Department of Health has not proven effective, despite the best intentions of the people in trying to defend the will of the people Voters from Prop. 64 to implement. AB141 has moved all of the responsibilities of these other three departments to the new DCC, which is housed in the Agency for Business, Consumer Services and Housing.
If the new regulations are approved, they will come into effect at the end of the month.
While there are many obvious reasons why entrepreneurs would be excited for the state to consolidate the licensing process, it should also be noted that enforcement can be expected to increase in the years to come after the licensing process is complete. This is a legitimate expectation, as the DCC will essentially consolidate this under one roof as well.
“Today’s action reflects the governor’s commitment and continued efforts to streamline requirements for California cannabis companies and make it easier to enter the legal, regulated market,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott. “Much of the proposed changes are the direct result of feedback received during the consolidation.”
We asked the DCC how the consolidation process has looked so far.
“When we were preparing to establish the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), we made a commitment to our stakeholders to work on improving regulations to make it easier to operate in the legal market. These improvements started with the consolidation of the programs and this proposed rulebook is another step forward, ”said the DCC LA Weekly. “These efforts focused on consolidating and adapting the existing three sets of rules and improving them in areas where we were legally allowed – for example to allow trade patterns between companies.”
From the point of view of the DCC, the steps towards the goal of streamlining the requirements have made meaningful progress: “However, this is by no means the end of our efforts to improve the regulatory framework – it is only the beginning.”
The DCC also noted that the changes would be sent to the state’s administrative law office. The OAL will observe a five-day public comment period. The DCC expects this comment period to begin around September 15th. Until then, the new rules would come into effect at the end of the month.
We contacted the OG cannabis lawyer Omar Figueroa. He used to help keep people out of cages for growing cannabis before licensees existed, and still does! Today Figueroa also sits on the board of directors of the National Cannabis Industry Association and the California Cannabis Tourism Association, is a founding member for life and former director of the International Cannabis Bar Association, a member for life of the NORML Legal Committee and has received the Distinguished Counsel’s Award from NORML.
We asked Figueroa if the move to consolidate will help alleviate some of the difficulties people have faced while trying to enter the market in recent years. He thinks it will eventually happen.
As for the move, which makes enforcement easier?
“Yes. I think California regulators have long been in a teaching mode when it comes to enforcement,” said Figueroa LA Weekly. He felt that there were not many resources available to prosecute the penalties or strictly enforce current regulations, “and this has resulted in a poor approach to legal compliance”.
But he quickly found that it was fair to assume that much of the confusion was due to three different sets of rules.
We asked Figueroa if he was responsible for the consolidation, what would be his first step?
“I would like to see direct sales from growers to consumers,” he replied. “These are small daily or temporary retail licenses. We can have one or two, three or four days, or maybe events a year where cultivators have direct interactions and direct sales to consumers. “
Figueroa believes this would be of great importance to farms struggling to survive.
“An event or two would be enough to provide a lifeline for many of these craft growers and the thousands who are losing all of these incredible genetics,” Figueroa said.