This week, Governor Newsom took a major step in reforming California’s (pretty tortured) cannabis licensing program by signing into law Assembly Bill 141, which generally consolidates all cannabis licensing and oversight into the Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”). In our view, centralizing all licensing and regulatory oversight into a single agency in California is a very good move on behalf of the state. Having to answer to three potential administrative agencies, all with different takes on the regulations, was incredibly cumbersome for licensees.
The consolidation will occur specifically within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, replacing: 1) the Bureau of Cannabis Control (which previously licensed retailers, delivery services, microbusinesses, distributors, testing labs, and event organizers), 2) the California Department of Public Health Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (which previously licensed manufacturers), and 3) the California Department of Food and Agriculture CalCannabis (which previously licensed cultivators, including nurseries and processors).
More specifically, AB 141 transfers to the DCC all of “the powers, duties, purposes, functions, responsibilities, and jurisdiction” of these former agencies. Governor Newsom also named Nicole Elliott as the director of the DCC. Close followers of California cannabis regulation may recall that Ms. Elliott has been the Governor’s senior cannabis