The California Legislature today passed Senate Bill 94, which effectively repeals the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MCRSA”) and incorporates certain provisions of the MCRSA in the licensing provisions of the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“AUMA” aka Proposition 64). As we’ve covered extensively, draft rules for the MCRSA dropped in late April, but speculation has been rampant that the state would integrate the rules for both medicinal cannabis (MCRSA) and adult use cannabis (AUMA). SB 94 does just that by creating the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”).
Here are 10 of the most important highlights of today’s bill:
- The governing bureau will now be the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“the Bureau”).
- The types of licenses available for commercial adult-use cannabis activity and commercial medicinal cannabis activity will be the same. The licenses available under both the MCRSA and the AUMA will continue to be available for both kinds of activity, and for specialty cottage cultivation licenses and microbusiness licenses, and, commencing on January 1, 2023, licenses for large outdoor, indoor, and mixed-light cultivation will also be available for both medicinal and adult-use cannabis activity.
- Producing dispensary and transporter licenses will not be available.
- Quality assurance, inspection, and testing requirements of cannabis and cannabis products prior to retail sale will change. Distributors will be required to store cannabis batches on their premises during testing, testing lab employees will be required to obtain samples for testing and transport those samples to testing labs, and distributors will be required to conduct a quality assurance review to ensure compliance with labeling and packing requirements, among other things.
- Though the MCRSA limited the combinations of medicinal cannabis licenses a person may hold until January 1, 2026, the MAUCRSA will not apply these limits (other than that testing laboratory licensees are prohibited from obtaining licenses to engage in any other commercial cannabis activity);
- The residency requirements of the AUMA are repealed. In other words, out of staters and even residents of other countries can freely participate.
- Additional advertising requirements, including regulation of online advertising and the creation of a universal symbol for edible cannabis products will be implemented.
- The cannabis excise tax will be measured by the average market price (as defined) of the retail sale, instead of by the gross receipts of the retail sale.
- Applicants for cultivation licenses will need to identify the source of water supply.
- The Bureau will no longer have the authority to regulate and control industrial hemp.
The above is only a rough summary of the new legislation. We will be breaking down the details in the coming days so stay tuned.