California cannabis regulator requests staffing help for enforcement

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control, which oversees all sectors of the legal marijuana industry in the state except for cultivators and manufacturers, has requested more funding to greatly expand its enforcement capabilities.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) put forth a budget request to state lawmakers for an 87-member police force to ensure operators are properly following regulations.

If the funding request is approved, the pivot would allow the BCC to absorb 58 positions from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cannabis Enforcement Unit and hire another 29 sworn peace officers.

The BCC anticipates having to deal with roughly 2,000 cases each year, the Bee reported, and the agency currently has a lengthy backlog of investigations.

In addition, many of the investigators currently on staff at the BCC are not sworn peace officers, so they are unable to arrest lawbreaking individuals, write search warrants, access criminal databases or perform similar key functions in investigations.

That’s left many of the BCC’s investigations into alleged industry violations either neutered or on hold until officers of some other law enforcement agency can assist, a loophole the budget request aims to fix.

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6 comments on “California cannabis regulator requests staffing help for enforcement
  1. Shuki Greer on

    The question of enforcement in the cannabisindustry is a complicated one.

    On the one hand, we don’t need more criminal enforcement of cannabis laws. If the protests and racial tensions occuring in America right now teach us anything, it is that we need to change laws that disproportionately affect minorities, not encourage LEOs to increase enforcing them.

    At the same time, the legal industry continues to struggle against its “traditional market” counterpart. There certainly are many regulatory changes that could help the industry flourish from a financial standpoint. At the same time, without any enforcement the legal market doesn’t really have a fighting chance. If unlicensed operators have NO fear of punishment, there is no reason for them to ever come out of the shadows.

    However, enforcement must be handled carefully. There needs to be clear guidelines that prioritize bad actors who have unhealthy farming practices, harmful extraction methods, and who are a danger to public safety. There are ways of saying well just growing weed isn’t enough to get raided, but if you are diverting water sources then that’s too far. Or if you are extrating that’s not good, but if you use harmful chemicals then we’ll raid you. That kind of division makes enforcement easier to swallow from a public policy standpoint, and can really bring the regulatory authorities in line with the goals of the cannabis leaders in the private sector.
    If done carefully and properly, enforcement can be a helpful cog in sustaining our legal market for the future.

  2. jason on

    Instead of focusing on things that would require more tax dollars than the already egregious amounts collected, the various regulatory bodies should hire some economists and let the people that transitioned from 215 to the regulated space gain some footing before striking out against it.

    Taking a 6,000++ pre-regulatory retail market place and condensing that to under 1,000 (current) operating entities while allowing an unbalanced amount of cultivation and manufacturing capacity to come on line only serves to erode the now state-hen-pecked margins previously enjoyed by cultivators and manufacturers.

    The solution isn’t hard:
    – eliminate the cultivation tax (which, once fully audited will absolutely cripple an already struggling industry – mostly because of how damn confusing it is)
    -have all tax collection happen at the retail level so it is clear and transparent to consumers – 27% (of wholesale) excise tax and over 100% (sometimes) in cultivation tax
    – force enforcement efforts toward the actual illicit market vs upon those that have entered the market and are trying to survive under the horrendous ‘new normal’ of regulated cannabis.

    I don’t know about anyone else but I feel that California has robbed me of everything we built up over the years before regulation came. But what else would I expect? This is the state that wants to cap rents for renters without any consideration for the property taxes landlords pay as a means for making it ‘more affordable’ to live here. Why not cut utility taxes, gas taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, tolls, or any of the other things fully within their control that would have a far bigger impact on the populous.

    Does anyone else miss the Prop 215 days? Back when cannabis was fun. When people could hang out at festivals and small shops can peddle their wares. And back when people could actually build a business and livelihood instead of becoming an indentured servant to the state.

    • Pat on

      I agree with Rick’s comment that the state’s manner of conducting its business around cannabis regulation IS a cluster f (CF). It’s a CF because the manner in which the law was written and then implemented was condemned to many basic persistent problems that anyone could have foreseen. The state didn’t care about any of it. Just get it going quick and dirty, and the unwary taxpayer will pay for all of these so called “loop-holes.”

      The Ca. Dept. of Finance should be subpeonaed to account for for all of how this program is being managed. Meaning, how much money is the state actually making of this seriously b.s. program? They aren’t making any. The point is, is to see just how far in the hole the state is in the implementation of this program. I’ll bet it’s a bottomless pit that no one in the state wants to talk about. Why? Too much money to be made by the wrong actors. And, most of that money is coming from the fleecing of the ca. tax payer.

      The EIR that the the BCC had written up as it related the pros/cons; upside/downsides of all of the alternatives that the ( contractor hired by the ca. dept. of ag… ) implementation of the current ;law was fraught with assumptions that lacked basis in evidence and facts. In fact, the EIR was written in a manner to benefit the very actors that stand to benefit from the corrupt law. It was not objective. It was very subjective. Yet, the power structure that likely had a hand in influencing how this EIR was written are the ones that are now calling for for more tax payer dollars to do this/that. Issues that could have easily been anticipated and discussed in the final draft of the EIR.

      Why hasn’t the DOJ been looking into this? Why hasn’t the Dept. of Consumer Affairs been looking into this? Why haven’t all the major agencies that were originally involved ( and now operating in the shadows, to avoid the responsibility that the lime light would bring…). Why isn’t the governor saying/doing anything of significance that would turn the stone over and expose this whole thing for the folly that it is? Because, they’re all caught up in it. But, moreover, desperately hope to benefit from it in a manner that they pray the ca. tax payer never ever finds out about.

  3. Martha Ann Curran on

    It’s really sad that Humboldt county won’t permit the old hippie growers, small batch, the best of the best.

    • Old Timer on

      No place in California’s legal market for Mom and Pop or small business organizations.
      Is it really legal if they need hundreds of officers to enforce their rules to protect their chosen pay to play operators ?
      The strength of the traditional market comes from exclusion, overregulation and taxation.
      Local municipalities, BCC, CDFA, etc. create a hostile business environment.
      The traditional market isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
      It appears that nothing was learned from all those years of the war on drugs.

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