california cannabis events
Coming soon to a cannabis friendly town near you?

We receive calls on a weekly basis from clients and prospective clients who want to know what steps they must take to host a cannabis event. We’ve heard plans for cooking classes, dinner parties, shows at art galleries with on-site consumption, and the list goes on. And while the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) does provide for state temporary event licenses, those licenses are unfortunately extremely limited.

Pursuant to MAUCRSA, a state licensing authority may issue a state temporary marijuana event license to a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons twenty-one years of age or older at a “county fair or district agricultural association event, provided that certain other requirements are met.” No other venue is allowed.

The hypothetical events I listed above do not constitute a “county fair” or a “district agricultural event,” and so technically, even if a local jurisdiction were entirely willing to issue a special event license for one of these types of events, it would not be permissible under state law. Assembly Bill 2641, introduced on February 15th, seeks to remedy this problem.

AB 2641 would authorize the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) to issue the temporary event licenses, and would authorize a state temporary event license to be issued for “an event to be held at any other venue expressly approved by the local jurisdiction.” The BCC would not be authorized to approve a state temporary cannabis event license for a given event unless the local jurisdiction in which the event is to be held has approved.

The bill would also authorize the BCC to issue a temporary cannabis retailer license to a licensed cannabis manufacturer or a licensed cannabis cultivator for the retail sale and deliver of cannabis or cannabis products to customers at a licensed temporary cannabis event, and the license would be valid only for the duration of that particular temporary cannabis event.

Temporary cannabis retailer licensees would need to be valid manufacturing or cultivation licensees. A temporary cannabis retailer licensee would only be authorized to sell cannabis or cannabis products manufactured or cultivated by that licensee. And of course, temporary cannabis retailer licensees must comply with all other requirements imposed on retailers.

Perhaps because cannabis events are such a desirable option for many people, AB 2641 is not the only bill of its kind. Last week, we covered Assembly Bill 2020, which also gives local jurisdictions the right to approve and permit events. The bills are quite similar, with AB 2641 slightly more detailed on requirements that event licensees sell only cannabis that they themselves have cultivated.

Given the demand for a wide array of cannabis events, we see the overlapping proposals of AB 2641 and AB 2020 as a welcome moves that would grant local jurisdictions flexibility in determining what types of special events they wish to approve. And it may mean that soon, our clients will finally be able to host all those creative events they’ve been planning.

marijuana event california
Like this, but with cannabis.

In order for a business to succeed, it has to create a connection with customers. This is especially true if the product sold is one that customers consume. Think about the importance of tasting rooms for wineries, or of tap rooms for breweries (especially craft brewers). These venues allow customers to connect with a product in a social setting, giving those businesses a valuable marketing platform.

When the California state legislature passed the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), it granted local jurisdictions authority to regulate on-site marijuana consumption for retailers and microbusinesses, and temporary cannabis events. The focus of this post is on temporary events, but first, a quick refresher on the microbusiness license type is in order. A microbusiness is a cannabis licensee that must engage in at least three of the following commercial cannabis activities:

  • Cultivation (up to 10,000 square feet);
  • Manufacturing (Type 6 only);
  • Distribution; or
  • Retail.

All three (or four) of the commercial cannabis activities need to take place on the same premises. If a microbusiness chooses to cultivate, manufacture, and conduct sales, it would give that business a great opportunity to directly connect with its customers and tell a story. This is even truer if the local jurisdiction allows for on-site consumption. (For additional information on the microbusiness license type, see my thoughts here for Leafly Magazine.)

Now, back to temporary cannabis events. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is the agency in charge of regulating and issuing temporary cannabis event licenses. If done right, participating in a cannabis event is another great way to connect and build up your consumer base and brand. There are a number of regulations that cover what is allowed at temporary cannabis events. Here are just a couple of highlights:

  • A temporary cannabis event license can only be issued to a cannabis event organizer.
  • A cannabis event organizer licensee is not authorized or licensed to cultivate, distribute, manufacture, or retail cannabis or cannabis products without first obtaining the appropriate licenses or authorizations to engage in such commercial cannabis activities.
  • No temporary cannabis event license will be issued for more than 4 days. Temporary cannabis event licenses will not be issued separately for consecutive days for the same event.
  • An application for a temporary cannabis event license shall be submitted to the BCC no less than 60 days before the first day of the cannabis event.
  • Cannabis sales at the event can only be conducted by a licensed cannabis retailer or microbusiness license holder.
  • Cannabis goods sold on site must be transported to the site by a licensed cannabis distributor.
  • Cannabis consumption is allowed but access to the consumption area shall be restricted to persons 21 years of age or older.
  • All cannabis goods at a cannabis event shall be in compliance with the state’s testing, labeling, packaging, and track and trace requirements.
  • Sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco shall not be allowed on the premises.

What I didn’t mention is where these cannabis special events can take place. Under MAUCRSA, cannabis special events can only take place at a county fair or district agricultural association event. Restricting cannabis events to these locales eliminates California’s largest cities from hosting them. State Assemblyman Bill Quirk is seeking to rectify this through Assembly Bill 2020 (AB 2020). This bill was introduced last week and its most important provision can be found in Section 26200 (a)(1)(e), which provides:

“This division does not prohibit the issuance of a state temporary event license to a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at a county fair or fair event, district agricultural association event, or at another venue expressly approved by a local jurisdiction for the purpose of holding temporary events of this nature, provided that the activities, at a minimum, comply with the requirements of paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (g), that all participants are licensed under this division, and that the activities are otherwise consistent with regulations promulgated and adopted by the bureau governing state temporary event licenses. These temporary event licenses shall only be issued in local jurisdictions that authorize such events.”

The goal of AB 2020 is to give ALL local jurisdictions the flexibility to determine when, where, or if they want to hold a cannabis special event within their borders. One of the first supporters of AB 2020 is the city of Oakland, which has shown an interest in adding cannabis sales at its Art and Soul Festival. If Oakland is able to add cannabis to an already popular festival – which might prove difficult, since Art and Soul is an all ages event – other cities are sure to follow.

AB 2020 is eligible to be heard in committee next month. We will be sure to keep you posted on its progress.

In case you missed our webinar on getting a license in compliance with California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”), the video replay is below.

Check back next week for the recording of our cannabis litigation webinar, the final webinar in our lunch-time webinar series.

And for a re-run of our recent webinar on webinar on the “Rights, Opportunities, and Responsibilities of Municipalities Regulating Cannabis”, go here.


In case you missed our December webinar on the “Rights, Opportunities, and Responsibilities of Municipalities Regulating Cannabis,” please find it below.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for replays of our California MAUCRSA webinar and our cannabis litigation webinar, the remaining presentations in last month’s lunch-time series.


If you are involved in the marijuana industry, understanding business disputes and how to avoid them is critical. Tomorrow, January 11, from 12pm to 1:15pm, four of Harris Bricken’s cannabis business attorneys and litigators will present a webinar on how to avoid cannabis disputes and how to prevail should you be involved in such a dispute.

Led by Vince Sliwoski, Will Patterson, John Mansfield and Megan Vaniman, this webinar will cover the following topics:

  • The present state of cannabis litigation
  • Emerging trends in cannabis litigation
  • Disputes involving cannabis partnerships and other business entities
  • Intellectual property disputes involving cannabis
  • Employment litigation
  • Administrative litigation (including license denials, etc.)
  • Federal law issues inherent in every cannabis case
  • Nuisance cases against cannabis businesses
  • Arbitrating and mediating your cannabis disputes
  • How disputes involving cannabis businesses differ from other disputes

The attorneys will address audience questions during and after the presentation. To register for this free webinar, please go here.  And for a more comprehensive description, go here.

We look forward to next week’s discussion!

California Cannabis Webinar Today
It’s TODAY. Don’t you dare miss it!

If you plan to pursue a California cannabis license or to work in any capacity with a California cannabis business, you should be sure NOT to miss today’s FREE webinar on what you need to know to ensure successful licensing and ongoing compliance with California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) rules.

From 12 to 1:15 pm, two of our Los Angeles-based cannabis attorneys, Hilary Bricken and Julie Hamill, and two of our San Francisco-based cannabis attorneys, Alison Malsbury and Habib Bentaleb, will give an overview of the recently issued emergency MAUCRSA rules governing medicinal and adult use cannabis licensing and operations in California.

The webinar will cover the licensing process for each license type, operational standards for all license types (including renewable energy requirements for cultivators), the 6-month “transitional” period for product and operations, major changes between the MCRSA and MAUCRSA rules, and key unknowns posed by the rules.

Go here to register.

And while you are at it, please check out and sign up for our free webinar on cannabis litigation, set for January 11. Click here to sign up for that.

Please join us today from 12 pm to 1:15 pm Pacific for a webinar on the rights, opportunities, and responsibilities of California municipalities regulating cannabis. The webinar will feature Brad Rowe of BOTEC Analysis, a drug and crime policy research and consulting firm, and Hilary Bricken of our LA office, who will present on the information, data, and legal and policy considerations local governments need regarding MAUCRSA and their ability to regulate or ban cannabis.

Topics covered during the webinar include:

  • How can municipalities balance cultivation, production, sales and use restrictions while staying eligible for funding under MAUCRSA?
  • What can local governments expect from MAUCRSA funding long term? How and when does MAUCRSA money sunset, and who will be affected?
  • What are realistic and lawful municipal cannabis tax policies? What groups would be affected and how?
  • What might taxing by THC content look like? What groups would be affected and how?
  • How can market measurements help localities model tax revenues and assist in locating dispensaries?
  • What are the opportunities for communities that have enacted a ban and plan to reverse it down the road?
  • How can cities leverage unionized cannabis workers (see LA) to create a credit union and a pool of money to support small and minority-owned business?
  • What are current banking options for operators?
  • What are the policy considerations of allowing only medicinal versus recreational and what have we learned from other states and local governments about this?
  • How should municipalities value and reward existing operators without being overly protectionist?
  • What are the mechanisms for municipalities to communicate effectively with each other and with the state in an environment of ever-changing regulations?

Brad and Hilary will address audience questions both during and at the end of the webinar.

Local governments in California are squarely in charge of who gets to participate under MAUCRSA; they are on the front lines of policing operators while balancing communal impact and concerns. As such, don’t miss this webinar to better educate yourself on the range of policy and tax choices and regulatory and legal oversight mechanisms available to local governments under MAUCRSA. To register, please go here.

Cannabis Litigation Webinar
Please join us for our cannabis litigation webinar

On January 11, 2018, Harris Bricken will present a FREE lunch hour webinar on cannabis litigation. Please click here to sign up.

Harris Bricken’s cannabis litigators have been handling cannabis disputes for years. These cases involve business entities including partnerships, corporations, and LLCs; intellectual property; employment; investment and financing; landlord-tenant issues; and administrative actions. As the cannabis industry expands, litigation in these areas, as well as in new areas such as product liability and patents, will increase.

Cannabis cases are different than any other type of business litigation, and nearly every case has a federal law component. State legalization has also led to an enormous statutory and regulatory apparatus that cannabis businesses — and their lawyers — must navigate every day. To meet the needs of the cannabis industry, Harris Bricken has experienced and dedicated civil litigators in its Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles offices, including Vince Sliwoski, Hilary Bricken, John Mansfield, and Will Patterson. These lawyers will speak on various topics, including:

  1. The state of cannabis litigation and emerging trends
  2. How cannabis disputes are different than disputes in other industries
  3. Disputes involving partnerships and other business entities
  4. Intellectual property disputes
  5. Product liability disputes
  6. Federal law issues
  7. Employment disputes
  8. Remedies in cannabis lawsuits
  9. Ways to avoid cannabis litigation

If you are in the cannabis industry, understanding business disputes and how to avoid them is critical. And if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a dispute, you need advisors experienced in handling these issues. We hope you will join us next month for a lively panel discussion on this important topic. Go here to sign up.

In the meantime, here is a healthy list of articles regarding cannabis litigation: