Updates to the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) As We Head Into The New Year

As 2020 comes to a close, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (the “BCC” or the “Bureau”) has announced updates to the operation of the agency as we head into the new year. 

Bureau Chief Lori Ajax Retiring; Tamara Colson Announced as New Chief 

As of December 2, 2020, Chief Lori Ajax has retired from her role as the Bureau Chief of the BCC. After serving in this position since February 2016, Ajax has led California through the establishment and implementation of cannabis regulations to the largest legal market. 

In Ajax’s place, Tamara Colson has been appointed to serve as the new Chief of the BCC. Having been Assistant Chief Counsel since May 2016, Colson’s prior cannabis experience at the Bureau will hopefully facilitate a smooth transition as the agency heads into the new year. 

Merger of Cannabis Agencies into the Department of Cannabis Control

In January 2020, before the COVID19 pandemic swept California, the Bureau announced the consolidation of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis division, and the Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch into a single new Department by July 2021. The new department, to be called the Department of Cannabis Control, has been structured to “centralize and align critical areas to build a successful legal cannabis market, by creating a single point of contact for cannabis

licensees and local governments.” 

Despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic, the agencies are still set to merge by the originally projected date July 2021. 

Stay at Home Order And Temporary Closure of BCC Offices

In response to a surge in COVID19 cases and hospitalizations in California, all regional state offices in the Greater Sacramento area are closed to the public. As of December 7, 2020, the BCC Offices will be closed to the public until further notice, with exceptions made for those who have scheduled appointments to pay their license fees. BCC licensees must schedule appointments in advance to pay license fees in person. These appointments can be made by emailing CannabisFeeAppt@dca.ca.gov.

The new stay at home order will be in effect for at least the next three weeks and will be monitored weekly thereafter. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these updates at the Bureau of Cannabis Control, please contact our cannabis regulatory compliance and licensing attorneys for assistance.

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Additional Commercial Cannabis Licensees Are Now Eligible For 60-day Fee Deferrals

Businesses with BCC, CDFA, and CDPH cannabis licenses expiring during the time period referenced above (May 14, 2020 through June 30, 2020) are immediately eligible to have their licensing fees deferred. However, fee deferral is not automatic. In order to request a fee deferral, licensees must submit the necessary forms to the applicable licensing agency in the way prescribed by the applicable agency.