Formation of the Department consolidates three programs into one and advances efforts to streamline the state cannabis regulatory structure
CALIFORNIA: The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) was established yesterday, following the signing of Assembly Bill 141. This action consolidates the three state cannabis programs into a single department. The creation of a standalone cannabis department, proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom, is part of a larger effort to improve access to licensure, simplify regulatory oversight and support California businesses. The Governor appointed Nicole Elliott to lead DCC as its Director.
This action represents the most significant consolidation and reorganization of state agencies since the Business, Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Agency was created in 2013. It is the culmination of 18 months of sustained effort by officials from more than 10 state agencies and reflects input from stakeholders and the legislature.
“California has led the nation in progressive cannabis policies, beginning 25 years ago as the first state in the nation to legalize medicinal use of cannabis,” said Governor Newsom. “We’ve taken another significant step forward to fulfill the opportunities of legalization and better serve all Californians. We will continue building upon our efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive industry, protect consumer and public safety, safeguard our environment and advance economic opportunity for small businesses.”
DCC consolidates regulatory, licensing and enforcement functions previously performed by three programs housed within different state departments: the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch. DCC is housed within the BCSH Agency.
“The state’s consolidation effort delivers on the commitment made by the Newsom Administration to listen to and work with California’s legal cannabis industry to streamline participation in the legal market by offering a central point of contact for licensed operators,” said BCSH Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez. “One of the key missions of our agency is to build strong, equitable, and vibrant communities. This action takes bold steps in that direction.”
DCC will regulate all commercial cannabis license holders in California, including cultivators, retailers, manufacturers, distributors, testing laboratories, microbusinesses, and industry event organizers. DCC will also manage the state’s track-and-trace system, which is used to track cannabis and cannabis products, from seed to sale, within the legal supply chain.
Today, officials unveiled the new logo and website. The logo includes a modern representation of a cannabis leaf. The leaf’s intertwined design is a visual representation of the unification of the three programs and collaborative spirit with which DCC intends to engage businesses and stakeholders.
The California Cannabis Portal, www.cannabis.ca.gov, was relaunched as the DCC website and will continue to serve as a centralized online location for cannabis information. The website was rebuilt and redesigned in partnership with the California Government Operations Agency’s Office of Digital Innovation (ODI) to be more accessible and better serve Californians. The prior websites for the three licensing authorities will remain accessible to the public while content continues to be migrated.
Old email addresses for staff will redirect to their new DCC email address for several months.
While the Department of Cannabis Control has officially launched, much work remains on the horizon. More news will come in the months ahead.