David Hua, CEO and Co-Founder of Meadow with DCC’s Director, Nicole Elliott
On Friday, September 29, 2023, DCC Director, Nicole Elliott, and Deputy Director of Compliance, Jeff Merriman, traveled to Mendocino County to engage with licensees and industry leaders at Meadowlands.
At the event, Director Elliott participated in a keynote interview with Meadow’s CEO and Co-Founder, David Hua, that touched on several important issues including hemp, federal cannabis rescheduling, compliance, enforcement, and legislative bills that were pending the Governor’s action.
Director Elliott also joined the local regulator panel which held a discussion on the need to expand consumer access to cannabis, addressing the illegal cannabis market, and more.
While in Mendocino County, Director Elliott had the opportunity to tour the Bohemian Chemist’s operation and learn more about their story and the practices they use to develop their brand, their products, and their support of the legal industry.
“It is so fulfilling to connect with licensees under the majestic redwoods, have honest and open conversations, and learn more about the current issues they are facing,” stated Director Elliott. “The legacy cultivator and craft cannabis communities are the heartbeat of California Cannabis, and we have a lot to learn from one another. Aside from sharing the magnificent beauty of their plants, many of which are easily twice my height, I deeply appreciate their willingness to join me in a productive conversation – one where we could speak frankly about some of the challenges faced by licensees and the Department. As always, this willingness to share, listen, and engage in constructive dialogue is essential as we work to build the future of California’s cannabis industry.”
Jim Roberts and Brian Adkinson from The Bohemian Chemist with DCC’s Director, Nicole Elliott
Keeping track from seed to sale
Last month Metrc introduced a new feature in CCTT to licensees, making it easier to designate trade samples in the system. Distributors, retailers, and microbusiness licensees can now identify test-passed trade sample packages by adding a Trade Sample flag. For more information about this feature, please review theMetrc Bulletin.
Deadline: Monday, November 6, 2023
Cultivators who previously obtained a mixed-light Tier 1 license and use no artificial light may request to change their license type to Outdoor cultivation and receive the corresponding reduction in license fee.
To be eligible:
Your current license must be mixed-light Tier 1;
Your current premises and/or lighting diagram must not include use of artificial lighting; and
Your licensed canopy size must remain the same.
To request this one-time change, the designated responsible party or owner must submit a request to email@example.com that includes the following information:
Indication the request is for a “license type change from mixed-light Tier 1 to Outdoor cultivation”
Legal business name of licensee
Licensees should submit their request for a license type change prior to submitting their renewal. If a current license is eligible for a license type change, the license will be renewed with the new license type and the renewal fee will be recalculated.
If you have already renewed your license or submitted your renewal request, you can still submit a license change request by following the instructions above. If eligible, DCC will refund the difference.
Requests must be submitted by November 6, 2023.
What’s new in the resource hub?
We regularly add, revise, and update the resources on CannaConnect. To make it easy to review new content, we’ve added a “New on CannaConnect” header with a list of the latest changes. Please bookmark the link below and check back regularly:
It has been widely reported that the U.S. Secretary of Human Health and Services has recommended that cannabis (or, as federal law calls it, “marijuana”) be rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule III of the federal Controlled Substances Act. It remains to be seen what action the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will take in response to this recommendation.
Rescheduling would represent a historic shift in the federal government’s cannabis policy, and moving cannabis to Schedule III would have significant tax benefits for cannabis businesses.
Ultimately, however, rescheduling will not legalize state-licensed cannabis businesses as a matter of federal law, nor would it replace states’ existing regulatory frameworks. Irrespective of what the DEA does next, California’s state-regulated cannabis market will continue its work in advancing and facilitating a well-regulated, legal market that benefits all Californians.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed 14 cannabis bills this year. Here is a list of the bills that were signed and the bills that were vetoed.
Also included are links to the signing or veto messages.
AB 623 (Chen):THC testing variances – would require DCC to establish regulations to adjust testing variances for edible cannabis products that include less than five milligrams of THC in total.
AB 993 (Rubio):Cannabis Task Force – would expand the Cannabis Regulations Task Force to include representatives from the Civil Rights Department and Department of Industrial Relations.
AB 1126 (Lackey):Cannabis: citation and fine – would make it a violation for any person to use or possess any package, label, advertisement, or other items bearing the universal cannabis symbol in connection with commercial activity, other than licensed commercial cannabis activity. Prohibited items could be seized as contraband.
AB 1171 (Rubio): Cannabis: private right of action – allows cannabis licensees to bring an action in superior court against illegal cannabis operators and seek compensation if they can show harm resulting from unlicensed activity. This bill also authorizes the court in that action to enter an order to enjoin a person from engaging in unlicensed cannabis activity.
AB 1448 (Wallis):Cannabis: enforcement by local jurisdictions – would redirect one-half of remaining civil penalties recovered in an enforcement action brought by a city or county from the General Fund to the treasurer of that city or county, as specified.
AB 1684 (Maienschein):Local Ordinances: Cannabis fines and penalties – would allow local agencies to create ordinances that can impose fines for unlicensed cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, processing, distribution, or sale. The fines would be imposed on the owners and operators of the business which engages in unlawful activity, making them jointly and severally liable, and can also be referred to the Attorney General.
SB 51 (Bradford):Cannabis provisional licenses: local equity applicants – would allow qualifying local equity applicants that conduct retail activities to apply for provisional licenses until January 1, 2031, and would require DCC to submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2030.
SB 302 (Stern):Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act – would update the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act, or Ryan’s Law, which provides for specified types of health care facilities to allow a terminally ill patient’s use of medicinal cannabis within the health care facility, as defined, subject to certain restrictions. The bill would expand the definition of health care facility to also include a home health agency, as defined.
SB 540 (Laird):Cannabis and cannabis products: health warnings – would require DCC, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, to create a brochure on steps for safer use of cannabis and would require, on or after March 1, 2025, a retailer or microbusiness selling, or a person delivering, cannabis or cannabis products to a consumer to prominently display the brochure. This bill would also require DCC, by July 1, 2025, to evaluate its regulations on label warnings to determine if additional warnings are necessary. The brochure and label warning regulations must also be reevaluated every five years and updated, if necessary, based on evolving science.
SB 622 (Allen):Cannabis regulation: plant identification program: unique identifier – would update existing law to require unique identifiers on cannabis plants be recorded in a manner determined by DCC.
SB 700 (Bradford):Employment discrimination: cannabis abuse – would make it unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis.
SB 753 (Caballero):Cannabis: water resources – would make it a crime for a person 18 years of age or older to plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process more than 50 living cannabis plants, or any part thereof, except as specified, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 6 months or by a fine of not more than $500, or both, or be charged with a felony, if specified conditions exist, including a violation of pesticide provisions, taking or using water from a conveyance or storage facility without permission, and extraction or use of groundwater from an unpermitted well or from a permitted well in excess of a restriction, as specified.
SB 756 (Laird):Water: inspection): administrative procedure: notice: service – would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) to conduct investigations and proceedings concerning the use of water. The Board will be given the authority to inspect the property of any person or entity to make sure certain requirements are being met, and to also inspect unlicensed cannabis cultivation sites. The Board is also authorized to issue complaints and cease and desist orders to any person or entity in violation of the law using a variety of delivery methods.
SB 833 (McGuire):Cannabis licensing: cultivation licenses: changing license type: inactive – would give DCC until March 1, 2024, to begin offering licensed cultivators, at the time of their license renewal, the ability to (1) temporarily or permanently reduce the canopy size of their license type and (2) place the license on inactive status. Cultivation licensees would also have a one-time opportunity to change their license renewal date to help align the cultivator’s license year with seasonal growing practices. Vetoed Legislation AB 374 (Haney):Cannabis: retail preparation, sale and consumption of noncannabis food and beverage products – would have authorized, contingent upon approval of a local jurisdiction, a cannabis consumption lounge operator to prepare and sell onsite nonalcoholic, noncannabis-infused food and beverages as well as host live events and sell tickets to those events. Additionally, the bill would have extended local authority to allow for the sale of prepackaged, noncannabis-infused, nonalcoholic food and beverage products by any cannabis retailer (storefront and delivery). A licensed retailer or microbusiness would have been prohibited from preparing or selling hemp or any products containing hemp to consumers and would have been required to store and display any noncannabis food and beverages separately and distinctly on the licensed premises.
AB 1207 (Irwin):Cannabis: labeling and advertising – would have defined the term “attractive to children” to include certain images and words, as specified, as well as anything else that is attractive to children under DCC’s regulations or in light of all relevant facts and circumstances. The bill would have also expressly prohibited the manufacture, distribution, and sale of cannabis or cannabis products that are attractive to children.
In August, DCC released its first-ever strategic plan. With so much on the horizon, the plan outlines key strategic priorities to help steer the departments work in the coming years. At the heart of the strategic plan is our continued pursuit to implement and develop a streamlined and effective cannabis regulatory framework that benefits all Californians.
The Cannabis Chronicle is a great way to keep up with what the DCC team is doing to meet these priorities.
Did you know that Governor Newsom created the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) in 2022 to better coordinate agencies combatting illegal cannabis operations and transnational criminal organization? UCETF aligns the state’s cannabis law enforcement efforts by increasing coordination between local, state, and federal partners. Q3 2023 results were announced earlier this month and show significant wins for public safety, the environment and the legal cannabis market by seizing over $100M in illegal cannabis.
“By leveraging the knowledge of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and the over 20 other state departments participating in the task force, we have the information and insight to target larger illegal operations,” stated Bill Jones, Chief of the Law Enforcement Division for DCC. “Many of these illegal operations are linked to transnational criminal organizations. And, based on evidence recovered during operations, products generated by these operations can pose a direct and considerable threat to consumer health and safety.
Please read the latest UCETF press release to learn more about the taskforce and what it accomplished in Q3 2023.
The Cannabis Chronicle, informational eblasts, and the CannaConnect Resource Hub are just a few of the tools DCC’s Outreach & Education and Customer Service teams use to provide you with timely and relevant information. DCC is committed to helping keep you informed and compliant.
Ideas for new resources, to request a DCC speaker, responses to email blasts, or public notices, contact our outreach team: Outreach@cannabis.ca.gov
Team members will work within the department to find answers. This is a great place to start if you’re looking for information or help from DCC.
Cannabis Advisory Committee
The Cannabis Advisory Committee (CAC) is tasked with advising DCC on the development of relevant standards and regulations for commercial cannabis businesses, including those necessary to protect public health and safety. Full CAC meetings are held quarterly; there are five subcommittees that meet as needed. The subcommittees are:
Public Health and Community Impact
Members of the committees represent businesses and interest groups involved with, or impacted by, commercial cannabis activity in the state. CAC meetings offer multiple opportunities for public comment for items on the published agendas and for issues not on the agenda.For more information on the CAC, to view agendas, or watch the full meetings, explore the CAC page on our website.
The next full advisory committee meeting will be held in December 2023. Keep an eye on your inbox or social media for dates and times.