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Who Needs a California Weed Lawyer?

This is a growing area of law in California (where I practice), and I am confident there is need for an easy to digest resource to learn some of the basics of the California weed laws from a California weed lawyer. As with anything else I write on this blog, this is not legal advice. In fact, I do not even have malpractice coverage for anything related to regulatory laws, so unless there’s a lot of interest, I won’t be able to give you any advice if you contact me. That being said, I think this is a really interesting area of law, and if enough people contact me and let me know they want my help in this area, I can see what I can do.

And so the surf lawyer makes a debut as a weed lawyer. Of all the possible transitions out there, this one… doesn’t exactly stretch the imagination.

Let’s start small:

California Weed Laws

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) is a key piece of legislation in California. The MMRSA is made up of three separate bills: AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643.

AB 266 establishes the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation under the Department of Consumer Affairs. One purpose of the Bureau is to establish a system for keeping track of licensees and for reporting the movement of commercial cannabis and cannabis products.

SB 643 & AB 243 enable the Department of Food and Agriculture to regulate cultivation. These bills also give the Department of Public Health responsibility for developing standards for manufacture, testing, production, and labeling of edibles. Pesticide standards are developed by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Departments of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Board are responsible for protecting water quality.

From the perspective of a dispensary, here are some key provisions of the MMRSA:

  • With regard to cultivation size limits, the maximum allowable size is 1 acre (43,560 sq ft) outdoors (for a Type 3 license) or 22,000 sq ft indoors (for Type 3A and 3B licenses).  The DFA is directed to limit the number of Type 3, 3A and 3B licenses.  AB 243, 19332(g).
  • Cannabis may be delivered to qualified patients only by dispensaries and only in cities or counties where not prohibited by local ordinance. All deliveries are to be documented. No locality can bar transport of delivered products through its territory.  Local county may tax deliveries.  AB 266, 19340.
  • Only licensed transporters can transport cannabis or cannabis products between licensees [AB 266, 19326(a)]. The bill doesn’t specify whether cultivators, manufacturers, or retailers can also have transport licenses, but 19328 (a) states they can generally have at most two separate kinds of licenses. Licensed transporters shall transmit an electronic shipping manifest to the state and carry a physical copy with each shipment SB643, 19337.
  • Products shall be labeled in tamper-evident packages with warning statements and information specified in Section 19347

That’s all for now. What else would you like to learn about? Let me know, and I’ll cover it in the next post.