• Elise Castelaz

5 Quick Facts About Adult-Use Cannabis in California

On January 1, 2018, it became legal for adults at least 21 years of age to purchase cannabis in the state of California without a physician’s recommendation. Nearly three months since this milestone, the rules surrounding cannabis, and especially cannabis business licensing, remain murky. To help you decipher the abundance of complex information out there, we’ve put together a list of five quick facts about the adult-use scene in California.

  1. Under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, California was the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use. For 20 years, the medical cannabis market thrived before the passage of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act of 2016, which allows adults to legally purchase cannabis.

  2. While it’s now legal for adults 21 and older to buy cannabis, consumption of cannabis is a different story. Cannabis must be consumed on private property and it remains illegal to smoke cannabis in public. Some local jurisdictions allow consumption on premises of licensed retailers, but it’s not common and you should always check with your local jurisdiction prior to partaking.

  3. Cannabis businesses are required to obtain both a state and local license. State licenses are issued by one of three authorities, depending on the business type: 1) The Bureau of Cannabis Control, 2) Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch as part of the California Department of Public Health, or 3) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

  4. Licensing is well underway, with the aforementioned authorities currently accepting applications. The different license types businesses can apply for include: cultivation, manufacturing, testing laboratory, retailer, distributor, and microbusiness. Licenses are either designated as “M” for medical or “A” for adult-use. Testing laboratories will be excepted from the M and A designation, as they can test products intended for use by both populations.

  5. Industry experts are planning to see an overall elevation in cannabis business practices within the state of California. Consumers can expect to see improvements in dispensary aesthetic and customer experience, more robust product matrices and product literature, and a stronger prevalence of highly professional branding, among others. Some of these changes will be brought on by increased competition, others by new rules and regulations. For example, the state will begin enforcing product labeling more rigidly, requiring labels to clearly and accurately indicate where the cannabis was grown.

As a state that stretches 900 miles in length and has 40 million residents, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of information to sift through when it comes to California’s new adult-use market.

If you’re looking for guidance on application submission, licensing, compliant branding and packaging, or any other business factor, contact us today for a free exploratory call. We’re here to help you succeed during this exciting time!

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