What you didn’t know about the new marijuana laws in California

Following the passage of California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), California attorney generals have continued to answer questions regarding what is provided through them and what is not allowed. The recent passage of Proposition 64 has not done anything better on this issue. More questions than answers have flooded their offices and stakeholders want to know what to expect in the near future and how their businesses will benefit in the long-term. This is especially because California has fully passed laws on marijuana, both for recreational and medical purposes. Even though the bills that were used to make up Proposition 64 and the MCRSA have lay the foundation for the future licensing systems for both medical and recreational marijuana, this is only the beginning. For all those who want to operate a cannabis dispensary in Santa Monica, the help of attorney generals would be useful at this time.


The Bureau of Marijuana Control (BMC) in California along with other agencies in California gave the governing authorities under these newly established weed laws to answer any questions concerning the actual substance of all recreational and medical regulations and rules. Here are some of the issues that have been highlighted by interested parties since the new laws came to force.


  1. The issue of residency: MCRSA has not explicitly affirmed the requirements for residency. However, this could change with future rule-establishment. All the same, Proposition 64 has done that in chapter 5: no licensing authority will give out or renew a license to any individual that cannot show continuous residence in California starting or prior to January 1, 2015.


  1. Marijuana Trade for-profit: there has been a lot of debate concerning the issue of for-profit companies given the mandate by MCRSA to operate. The interpretation of the ordinances given there in could mean this is permissible. The law uses the word “applicant” where it could imply an individual owner or a group of owners of a given facility.  This may also include all entities or individuals having ownership interest beyond security, lien or impediment on land that will be occupied by the facility. A person can range from an individual to a corporation or any other business entity.


  1. Finance Matters: both the medical and recreational marijuana business laws in California are not definitive on the issue of financing. This means that the state will have to advice on the matter by rule-making in the near future.  It is not certain who is liable to finance California Cannabis businesses.


  1. Licensing Priority Issues: Both Proposition 64 and MCRSA have priority licensing thresholds that must be met. AB 266 of MCRSA states that the issuance of licenses, the licensing power shall prioritize any entity or facility that can show to the satisfaction of the authority that it used to operate and is in good books with the local authority by the start of January, 2016.


  1. License Limitations: The MCRSA requires that particular licenses be up to a certain number. However, it does not specify the kind of limitations to be expected. For instance, under MCRSA, limited licenses include manufacturing level 2 certification for production sites that yield medical marijuana products that use volatile solvents.


  1. Distribution of Marijuana: Today, customers can get cannabis delivery online. All the same, this has been one of the hotly contested topics based on the MCRSA requirements on distribution. A distributer should be a licensed person and therefore, consumers should engage with a distributor who is authorized to engage with licensed cultivators, dispensaries and manufacturers. However, the role of the distributor may need further definition in the future rule-making.

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