California Cannabis Licensing Authorities Consolidate With Passing of AB 141, Creating the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC)

Yesterday, California’s three state cannabis licensing authorities – the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, and CDPH’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch – consolidated to form the Department of Cannabis Control (the “DCC” or “Department”).

The formation of the DCC and the consolidation of the three agencies is a consequence of Governor Newsom signing Assembly Bill (AB) 141. Nicole Elliot, the Senior Advisor on Cannabis to Governor Gavin Newsom, has been appointed as the DCC’s first director.

Assembly Bill 141 – The Cannabis Trailer Bill

AB 141, the so-called “cannabis trailer bill”, establishes the DCC within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. Per the bill, the powers, duties, purposes, functions, responsibilities, and jurisdiction of the BCC, CalCannabis, and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch will be transferred to the Department of Cannabis Control.  The DCC will now serve as the state authority to regulate all commercial cannabis activity. The bill also requires the department to be under the supervision and control of a director.

AB 141 also made the following significant changes to California state law:

  • Consolidates the references in state law from the three state licensing authorities to the DCC;
  • Modifies the timelines and requirements related to provisional licensing by extending the deadline from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022;
  • Creates a Deputy Director of Equity and Inclusion to lead DCC implementation of the California Cannabis Equity Act and incorporate equity and inclusivity throughout DCC’s programs;
  • Allows licensees to provide trade samples to other licensees to market cannabis and cannabis products;
  • Authorizes emergency regulations to consolidate the previously adopted regulations by the three licensing authorities; and
  • Requires the DCC to provide public information on its website related to every license issued by the department, including the county of a licensee’s address of record, beginning January 1, 2022.

How This Consolidation and the Formation of the DCC Affects Cannabis Businesses in California

For now, cannabis businesses in California do not need to take any specific action.

  • License renewals and new license applications: Your license or license application are transferred to DCC automatically. You do not need to submit a new license application. Your current license is still active, even if your license certificate lists the old licensing authority’s name. Your license will still expire at the time listed on your license certificate.
  • Reaching contacts in the former licensing and regulatory departments: Old email addresses for staff will redirect to their new DCC email address for several months. If your point of contact changes, the DCC will provide updated contact information.

With the creation of a single point-of-contact, the DCC has begun the process of streamlining licensing and regulations. We will strive to keep you updated about any new developments regarding the DCC, and how these changes might affect you.

For questions and concerns about this development, California cannabis licensees can email licensing@cannabis.ca.gov with any license or application questions or info@cannabis.ca.gov with general questions. You can also contact the regulatory compliance team at Rogoway Law if you have any questions pertaining to the formation of the DCC, and how it affects your business.

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