California marijuana regulatory merger on track for July

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020 proposal – to merge the three regulatory agencies that oversee the state’s marijuana industry into one new department – has finally been rescheduled and is now slated to be completed by July.

Though the merger is pending approval from lawmakers, the move is part of Newsom’s 2021-22 budget proposal and therefore expected to receive the needed thumbs-up.

The merger – which has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic – is intended to simplify a host of industry issues and reduce regulatory red tape for marijuana businesses.

The plan is to combine California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) with the marijuana regulatory wings in the departments of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and Public Health (CDPH) into a new state agency called the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC).

Since the establishment of the legal MJ market in California, the BCC has overseen licensed retailers, distributors, testing labs, events organizers, and microbusinesses, while the CDFA has had jurisdiction over cultivators and the CDPH over manufacturers.

But that’s led to patchwork rules between the three as well as confusing overlap in regulatory interpretations between the three agencies.

Industry officials complain, for example, the three agencies have offered conflicting answers to questions from marijuana businesses.

The merger is designed to fix all that.

“In an effort to improve access to licensing and simplify and centralize regulatory oversight of commercial cannabis activity, the Governor’s Budget proposes to consolidate licensing and associated regulatory functions into a single state Department,” the three current agencies noted in a joint news release.

“This proposal seeks to better serve stakeholders including cannabis businesses, local governments, and members of the public by acting as a single point of contact as well as leverage existing funding in a more efficient way by reducing redundancies,” the release added.

Newsom’s budget requests $153.8 million in funding for the new department and allocates monies for 621 staff positions.

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2 comments on “California marijuana regulatory merger on track for July
  1. Jordan S. Zoot CPA on

    There are complexities to the merger that need to be worked out such as the regulation of Cannabis Cooperative Associations [“CCA’s’] which are completely garbled at present

  2. Pat on

    Yes. It also decreases the potential number of witnesses from the various agencies that regulate separately now, should there be a govt. corruption trial against these regulatory agencies. What they’re hoping to achieve with this merger, is to still recruit from the various traditional agencies that would normally be involved in regulating this substance and put them under one “umbrella” thus hiopefully protecting them from lawsuits that would be aimed at them as the separate agencies that they are; such as the Ca. Dept. of Ag.

    Once a separate regulatory agency is formed, it doesn’t mean that the current corruption will stop. Rather it will likely intensify. But, the probability of getting caught gets reduced dramatically as now there will be a singular allegiance culture promoted under that one agency, whatever they decide to call it. That means, a predictable lesser chance of potential whistle blowers; as there still will be plenty to “whistle” about.

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