California: Notice Regarding State Stay-At-Home Order Issued December 3, 2020

CALIFORNIA:  On Thursday, December 3, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new Stay-at-Home Order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to continue facilitating a consistent approach across the state to slow the spread of COVID-19. This order goes into effect at 12:59 p.m. on December 5 and will be applied on a regional basis. If a region falls below the 15% ICU threshold, it will have 24 hours to implement the Stay-at-Home Order. The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks. Learn more about this order.

 

The order continues to identify certain services as essential and these services can continue operations while the Stay-at-Home Order is in effect. Cannabis businesses remain essential businesses under the order. To ensure public and employee safety, the order limits the number of people on a cannabis retail premises to 20% of the capacity of the retail location. Cannabis licensees can otherwise continue to operate in the same manner they are now, including activities allowed by approved disaster-relief requests, provided their operations comply with state and local rules and regulations. To determine if your region is subject to the stay-at-home order, please visit: COVID19.CA.GOV.

Any licensee that continues to operate must adopt social-distancing and anti-congregating measures, and must follow the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease at all times.

The Governor recently announced  programs to provide financial assistance to certain small businesses. This includes immediate tax relief from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) in the form of automatic filing extensions, interest-free payment plans, or a hiring tax credit of up to $100,000 to offset income or sales and use taxes. Information about these programs can be found at CDTFA’s COVID-19 web page. You can also learn more about the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant, including availability and eligibility, by signing up for updates from the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. Below are resources for employers, employees, and public safety:

California BCC Rolls Out “Weedwise” Cannabis Consumer Survey

The Bureau of Cannabis Control’s (BCC) “Get #weedwise” campaign is currently collecting feedback from a variety of cannabis consumers on their current level of awareness of legal cannabis and consumer purchase behavior.

Since the pandemic began many consumers have shifted their habits and more cannabis consumers have entered the market. It’s important for the BCC to ensure the #weedwise campaign is as effective as possible. That is why the BCC has created a Google Forms survey to better understand how consumer buying habits have changed.

The survey allows you to remain anonymous and takes 2-3 minutes to complete: https://forms.gle/fwqpK7uWcQMm5f7QA.

California Cannabis Licensing Authorities Unveil New Unified License Search Tool

CALIFORNIA:  California’s three cannabis licensing authorities – BCC, CDFA and CDPH announced today the launch of a unified licensing search platform, the culmination of a collaboration between the California Department of Technology, the California Health and Human Services Agency Office of Innovation, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the licensing authorities.

The unified license search tool allows the public to search for cannabis license information from all three licensing authorities by using one search tool. The need for a unified search was identified through conversations with, and surveys of, licensed businesses, local governments, and law enforcement conducted in late 2019 and early 2020.

“This unified license data search tool will make it easier for the public to access cannabis license information without having to inquire with each licensing authority separately,” Bureau Chief Lori Ajax said. “This will also help consumers identify licensed cannabis retailers near them.”

Some features of the new license search include an interactive map and geolocation tools. There is also a survey where users can submit usability feedback to the licensing authorities as they continue to refine the search tool. The unified license search tool can be accessed at https://search.cannabis.ca.gov/.

The unified license search will be updated every 24 hours; however, the most recent data will still be available through each licensing authority’s existing search tool on its website.

In January 2020, Governor Newsom announced plans to consolidate the three cannabis licensing authorities into a single Department of Cannabis Control, in an effort to improve access to licensing and simplify regulatory oversight of commercial cannabis activity. Today’s announcement is part of that overall plan.

California Bureau Of Cannabis Control Announces Enforcement Action Against Unlicensed Cannabis Businesses

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CALIFORNIA: The Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation-Cannabis Enforcement Unit announced enforcement actions against two unlicensed cannabis businesses operating out of multiple locations in Sacramento, Davis and Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, DOI-CEU and the Davis Police Department served search warrants on “Mary Jane Finder,” an unlicensed cannabis delivery service located in Sacramento and Davis. The search warrants covered two locations: 204 F St., Ste. A1 in Davis, and 1779 Tribute Rd, Ste. 6 in Sacramento. The operation resulted in the seizure of $854,812 in cannabis products.

DOI-CEU also assisted the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department in serving a separate search warrant on Tuesday, February 27, 2019, on “Space Lounge,” an unlicensed cannabis retailer located at 1710 N. Eastern Ave. in Los Angeles. This operation resulted in the seizure of $439,776 in cannabis products.

The combined value of cannabis seized from these unlicensed operators totaled $1,294,588.

All commercial cannabis activity in California requires a state-issued license from one of the state’s three cannabis licensing authorities. Selling cannabis goods without a state license is a violation of state law. To file a complaint regarding illegal activity, click here – Enforcement Online Services.

California’s Bureau Of Cannabis Control Releases Proposed Cannabis Regulations

The regulations are currently under review by the California Office of Administrative Law

CALIFORNIA: The Bureau of Cannabis Control has announced the release of the proposed cannabis regulations currently under review by the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The Bureau’s rule-making action regarding these regulations, initially noticed on July 13, 2018, was submitted to OAL for review on Dec. 3, 2018.

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The Bureau has posted to its website the proposed regulations text, in strikethrough and underline, to reflect the differences between the regulations under review and the current readopted emergency regulations: https://www.bcc.ca.gov/law_regs/proposed_regs.html

Included in this posting are the final statement of reasons and the order of adoption containing the regulations text under review – without strikethrough and underline for convenience.

The public comment period has closed for these regulations, and the Bureau will not be providing guidance related to these regulations until OAL has completed its review.

Please note that the proposed regulations submitted to OAL have not yet been approved by OAL and are not currently in effect. While the regulations are under review with OAL, the readopted emergency regulations remain in effect and licensees should continue to comply with those regulations.

California BCC Proposes Updated Marijuana Business Regulations

CALIFORNIA: On October 19th, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) in California released an updated draft of proposed marijuana business regulations for the cannabis industry in the state. The new draft signaled the start of a 15-day period of public comment to gather feedback on the slightly tweaked industry rules.

Since the recreational use of marijuana was legalized in California on January 1st, 2018, three state agencies have overseen the cannabis industry in the state. These agencies are the BCC, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Food and Agriculture. They are set to finalize cannabis business regulations in California by Dec. 03, by which point another draft might be introduced depending on the public feedback received on the latest update.

Talking about the new draft, California marijuana attorney Omar Figueroa said that he is happy with the “certainty and knowing what we have to deal with, that the rules of the game are finally crystallizing.”

If the latest draft is permanently adopted, the proposed regulations would bring about a number of changes in California marijuana law for marijuana businesses.

Among the draft’s proposed changes:

● The quantity of marijuana inventory allowed to be carried by a delivery vehicle would be reduced from $10,000 to $5,000. The draft would also require at least $2000 of that inventory to be part of existing orders from customers, before the vehicle departs a delivery hub.

● Delivery vehicles are not allowed to have exterior markings indicating that they are delivering cannabis goods.

● In the current system, some jurisdictions do not allow deliveries of cannabis goods from other jurisdictions. The new set of proposed rules states that deliveries can be made into any jurisdiction in the state as long as it complies with the BCC’s delivery regulations.

● The new rules would require a substantial amount of information about major stakeholders in licensed marijuana businesses to be disclosed.

● Organization of licensed cannabis events that used to be limited to county fairgrounds will no longer be so. This is said to provide an impetus to a variety of cannabis events taking place all over the state.

● Companies like Eaze, which has been called the Uber of the marijuana industry, would be allowed to facilitate deliveries of marijuana products as long as there’s no direct profit-sharing with their delivery professionals, or “drivers” as they’re called, based on their sales. Third-party companies that do not possess a California marijuana commercial license would not be allowed to deliver cannabis whatsoever.

● Manufacturers would not have to comply with child-resistant packaging requirements until January 2020.

● Strict testing requirements would be relaxed, with a view to avoid the sheer number of failures and recalls faced by marijuana products.

● Licensed cannabis companies will not be allowed to sell or transport goods that are identified as any type of alcoholic product.

● Licensed cannabis companies can provide promotional non-cannabis goods, but they cannot sell branded cannabis goods that are not listed without the approval of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

California’s legal cannabis market is estimated to bring in revenue amounting to $7.7 billion by 2021, but Josh Drayton, director of communication and outreach for the California Cannabis Industry Association believes that legal marijuana industry regulations in the state are still a “work in progress.”

“It’s still a work in progress,” Josh said, in an interview with Forbes. “We’re eight months in adult use and we’re operating under emergency regulations.”

This updated set of rules seems to be a step in the direction of completing this work in progress as soon as possible. The window for public comment and feedback will be open until Nov. 5, in which licensed marijuana business owners would be looking to weigh in on the regulations they like and dislike.

California Cannabis Licensing Authorities Announce Changes To Proposed Cannabis Regulations

CALIFORNIA: California’s three state cannabis licensing authorities today announced changes to the proposed cannabis regulations published to the California Regulatory Notice Register on July 13, 2018.

These proposed changes mark the next step in the formal rule-making process toward adopting non-emergency regulations and the beginning of a 15-day public comment period related to the proposed changes. The changes to each licensing authority’s proposed non-emergency regulations and rule-making documents have been posted to California’s Cannabis Portal and may be viewed online.

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“We received valuable feedback from industry stakeholders and the public over the duration of the 45-day comment period,” said Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax. “These changes we’ve proposed further clarify the requirements for cannabis businesses while protecting overall public health and safety.”

PUBLIC COMMENT: There will be a 15-day public comment period on the proposed changes, which starts today and concludes Monday, November 5, 2018, at 5 p.m. Please note that only public comments addressing the newly proposed changes will be considered. The three licensing authorities will review each timely comment received and will respond to all comments in documents filed during the final stages of the rule-making process.

Comments may be submitted in writing to each licensing authority through email or physical mail. No public comments will be accepted by phone. The current emergency regulations, adopted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, California Department of Public Health and California Department of Food and Agriculture in December 2017 and readopted in June 2018, were originally issued through the emergency rule-making process to meet the legislative mandate to open California’s regulated cannabis market on January 1, 2018.

These emergency regulations will remain in effect until the non-emergency rule-making process is complete.

On June 27, 2017, the legislature passed and Governor Brown signed into law the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) which provided one regulatory framework for both medicinal and adult-use commercial cannabis activity within the state. The state cannabis authorities adopted emergency regulations in December 2017 for initial implementation of the provisions of MAUCRSA and are now using the regular rule-making process to adopt permanent regulations.