California Cannabis Law pending, Fall 2015- AB243

2015 California AB243


Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act,



This bill, titled the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act, creates a comprehensive state licensing and regulatory framework for the cultivation, processing, distribution, testing, and sale of medical cannabis. The bill includes provisions related to health and safety standards, which include medical cannabis testing and labeling; record-keeping; security; transportation; taxation; and certification of employees. Specifically, this bill:


1) Provides that, without limiting the authority of a city or county, the state shall have the exclusive right and power to regulate and license persons for the cultivation, manufacture, transportation, sale, and other related activities regarding medical cannabis in the state. Specifies it does not intend to preempt any local ordinance or prevent local jurisdictions from adopting or enforcing ordinances that ban or regulate cannabis.


2) Exempts patients and primary caregivers, as defined, from commercial cannabis activity regulation. States it shall not apply to, and shall have no diminishing effect on, the rights and protections granted to a patient or a primary caregiver pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.


3) Establishes the Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement, within the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), as the primary regulatory agency as it pertains to the sale, distribution, and transportation of commercial cannabis activity.


4) Establishes the Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing, within the State Department of Public Health (CDPH), to administer provisions related to manufacturing, testing, and certification of testing laboratories. Requires CDPH to adopt labeling, packaging, sanitation, and testing standards.


5) Establishes the Division of Medical Cannabis Cultivation within the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to administer provisions related to cultivation of medical cannabis. Requires CDFA to adopt regulations and standards ensuring cultivation is in compliance with specified environmental and agricultural regulations and practices, and to establish weight and measure standards. Prohibits cannabis cultivation on public lands.


6) Requires a task force be convened to further specify the appropriate roles of regulatory authorities, and establish communication guidelines. Requires a report to the Legislature by August 1, 2016.


7) Requires the three divisions to issue tiered licenses specified in the bill, which depend on the level and type of activity, for commercial cannabis activity within their jurisdictions; establish licensing fees; establish applicant and employee qualifications, and requirements related to security, product disposal, marketing, and labeling; and enforce licensure provisions. Prohibits unlicensed activity.


8) Requires regulatory authorities to charge application processing fees to process licenses and license fees that reflect licensure regulatory costs. Requires license fees to be charged upon issuing a license. Requires fees to be set at an amount that will fairly and proportionately generate sufficient total revenue to fully cover the total regulatory costs.


9) Establishes the Medical Cannabis Control Fund as a continuously appropriated fund with four specified accounts. Requires fines and penalties to be deposited into an account in the fund, which is available upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the purposes of funding an enforcement grant program.


10) Requires specified state departments to enter into an interagency agreement to set forth their respective duties and reimbursement from the fund.


11) Requires regulatory authorities to adopt, as soon as practicable, emergency regulations establishing provisional licenses. Requires issuance of provisional licenses to individuals and entities that determined to have been, during the 3 months prior to January 1, 2016, conducting commercial cannabis activity in compliance with local ordinances. Considers entities provided immunity under Los Angeles’s Measure D as compliant.


12) States it does not prevent local jurisdictions from adopting or enforcing a zoning or other law, ordinance, or regulation that regulates the location, operation, or establishment of commercial cannabis activity. States it does not prevent a city or county from adopting specified local ordinances inconsistent with its provisions.


13) Makes licensure for persons who are not local permit holders contingent on proof the applicant has received permission from local authorities for commercial cannabis activities.


14) Allows local jurisdictions to impose a temporary local suspension of the license of a commercial licensee for up to 30 days for violations of this chapter or a local ordinance.


15) Authorizes boards of supervisors to impose, by ordinance, applicable to voter approval requirements, a tax on cultivation, storing, distributing or selling marijuana by a licensee. Limits total taxation of state and local authorities to 25 percent of retail prices.


16) Specifies civil penalties of up to twice the amount of the license fee for each incident of unlicensed activity. Requires penalties collected pursuant to action brought by the Attorney General to be deposited into the General Fund.


17) Requires the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to conduct research to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis, and to assist law enforcement agencies to establish best practices. Funds this activity through the fines and penalties account.


18) Requires the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to develop employee competency and training certification standards for cultivation and dispensing. Creates a one-time $25 registration fee which is deposited in the Fund. Requires employee certification by January 1, 2019.


19) Requires the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (in DIR) to convene an advisory committee to evaluate whether there is a need to develop industry-specific regulations. Requires the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (in DIR) to adopt regulations governing apprenticeship programs.

201520160AB34_Assembly Appropriations-

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