Regulatory Affairs: A Multi-Agency Approach

Regulatory agencies are responsible for day-to-day implementation, rulemaking, and enforcement of California cannabis law.  CalGrowers is committed to working with state regulators to ensure that California's cannabis program is successful, protects public health and safety, and reduces barriers to entry for small and independent businesses.

Three separate state agencies are responsible for taking the lead on cannabis regulation:

Information on all the state agencies is available from

The Regulatory Process

As the state works to create detailed rules on cannabis activity for the first time, the regulatory process has often been complex and difficult to follow. In 2018, six separate drafts of regulations were proposed, and by the end of the year three separate regulatory packages will have gone into effect for some period of time. Different drafts of regulations sometimes take contradictory positions on key issues, such as packaging or premises requirements, and lead to expensive compliance costs. In response to this uncertainty, the CalGrowers regulatory affairs program works to help members understand and comply with existing regulations, track and comment on proposed regulations, and provide feedback to the state on how future regulations could be written to lower barriers to entry for small businesses.

Existing State Emergency Regulations

Emergency regulations were formally re-adopted by the Office of Administrative Law on June 4, 2018. These rules establish application procedures, licensing fees, and rules for operation for cannabis businesses. Below are the current rules that all licensed cannabis businesses are required to follow until December 2018.

BCC Emergency Regulations June 2018

CDFA Emergency Regulations June 2018

DPH Emergency Regulations June 2018

The current emergency regulations are actually the third set of emergency regulations proposed by the regulatory agencies. For a more detailed timeline and history of the state regulatory process, you can read more here.

July-September 2018: Proposed Non-Emergency Regulations

In preparation for the transition away from emergency regulations, draft non-emergency regulations were released on July 13, 2018. The formal public comment period for these regulations ended on August 27. CalGrowers submitted extensive comments on the proposed regulations to each of the three regulatory agencies:

CGA Comment on July 2018 Proposed Regulations: CDFA

CGA Comment on July 2018 Proposed Regulations: BCC

CGA Comment on July 2018 Proposed Regulations: DPH

Major CGA regulatory priorities throughout 2018 have included:

  • Allowing adult-use and medicinal licensees to transact with each other freely, and streamlining regulatory costs for businesses that want to participate in both markets.
  • Reversing the decline in compassionate use programs, and ensuring that cannabis can be provided for free to patients with severe medical needs.
  • Implementing policies to ensure maximum opportunity for existing growers to transition and succeed and prevent harmful consolidation by acknowledging and managing oversupply.
  • Managing substantial increases in the cost of laboratory testing that disproportionately affect small and independent businesses.
  • Addressing barriers that prevent producers from obtaining transportation licenses
  • Increasing access to microbusiness licenses for small and independent businesses.

October-November 2018: Proposed Non-Emergency Regulations

On October 19, state agencies released proposed revisions to the non-emergency regulations, triggering a 15-day comment period. The proposed revisions touched on several major issues including white-labeling, shared processing space, and transportation. CalGrowers submitted comments on the proposed revisions, and expects regulations to be finalized by the end of November.

CGA Comment on October 2018 Proposed Regulations: BCC

CGA Comment on October 2018 Proposed Regulations: CDFA

(Updated: November 9, 2018)