California governor signs off on marijuana regulatory overhaul bill

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law legislation to consolidate the state’s three marijuana programs under a single department as part of an effort to simplify regulatory oversight and improve licensing access.

The so-called “governor’s trailer bill,” Assembly Bill 141, creates the Department of Cannabis Control. The measure also:

  • Extends the life span of the provisional licensing program, allowing provisional permits to be renewed until Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Allows for trade samples of marijuana products to be shared among businesses free of charge.

Experts, however, say the measure falls short of what’s needed to stabilize the marijuana industry in California.

Lawmakers are expected to tackle some of those issues in August.

“The state’s consolidation effort delivers on the commitment made by the Newsom Administration to listen to and work with California’s legal cannabis industry to streamline participation in the legal market by offering a central point of contact for licensed operators,” Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Agency, said in a statement.

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), housed within the BCSH Agency, will consolidate regulatory, licensing and enforcement functions previously performed by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CalCannabis within the Department of Food and Agriculture as well as the Cannabis Manufacturing branch within the Department of Public Health.

The DCC also will manage the state’s track-and-trace system.

The California Cannabis Portal was relaunched as the DCC website and will continue to serve as a centralized online location for cannabis information.

The three licensing authorities’ websites will remain accessible to the public while content continues to be migrated.