State agencies release first draft of permanent regulations for commercial cannabis

California regulators released the first draft of permanent regulations on medical and recreational cannabis on July 13, which marks the first step in replacing “emergency” regulations that have been governing both sectors of the cannabis industry since recreational pot was legalized.

The proposed permanent regulations were crafted in a collaborative effort by each of the state’s three cannabis licensing authorities: the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Department of Public Health. Each has posted their proposed non-emergency regulations and rule-making documents to the state’s Cannabis Portal. The current emergency regulations will remain in place until the non-emergency rule-making process is complete, the Bureau of Cannabis Control said in a press release.

“The emergency rulemaking process provided an opportunity to evaluate how the rules were working for businesses throughout the supply chain,” Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax said in a statement. “The regulations we now propose include changes that make it easier for businesses to operate and strengthen public health and safety policies.”
The public was given 45 days to comment on the proposed regulations, either in writing or during one of 10 public hearings scheduled throughout the state. Following the public hearings and period of public comment, the permanent regulations will be finalized.
Among the most significant changes in the permanent regulations is that local governments may no longer be able to ban cannabis retailers from delivering products in their jurisdiction – despite rules that cities and counties may have in place. Under the proposed permanent regulations for delivery to a physical address, “A delivery employee may deliver to any jurisdiction within the State of California.” No such language was present in the emergency regulations.

The County and City of Colusa, as well as the City of Williams, each have rules in place banning any sort of retail sale of cannabis in their respective jurisdictions, including deliveries.

County Counsel Marcos Kropf said on Monday that he wasn’t aware of the changes to delivery regulations, but questioned whether they were valid.

“The question in my mind is whether a regulation that the Bureau of Cannabis Control creates can trump state law,” Kropf said. “It’s our interpretation of state law that we can prohibit deliveries in unincorporated areas of the county. I would question whether that would be a valid regulation. If we ended up looking at it and interpreted it to be valid, the Board (of Supervisors) would have to consider some regulations on delivery.”

Colusa City Manager Jesse Cain said that he was aware of the proposed changes to retail delivery in the first draft of the proposed permanent regulations, but said that the city would wait to see if those regulations end up getting adopted in October, before they consider any changes to their local ordinances.

The City of Colusa currently has a retail delivery service – Big Moon Sky – operating within the city limits, but the company does not deliver anywhere in the county, including the cities of Williams and Colusa, as per their local restrictions. Even if the new proposed regulations pertaining to deliveries are adopted by the state, CEO Zack Crafton said that wouldn’t change without first getting permission from the local governing bodies.

“The state regulations are getting more delivery-friendly, but I’m still going to respect the city’s and county’s wishes,” Crafton said. “We will not deliver in the City or County of Colusa unless they explicitly allow it. I trust the city will make the best decision for its residents and citizens, and we will abide by the laws and regulations they have in place.”

Other significant changes in the proposed permanent regulations include further restrictions on advertising techniques, prohibiting free cannabis goods or giveaways, and requiring cannabis event holders to provide more details than previously required.
The full proposed text of regulations from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Public Health can be viewed at https://cannabis.ca.gov/cannabis-regulations/

A list of public hearing dates, as well as the procedure for submitting written comments on the proposed regulations, can be found at https://cannabis.ca.gov/public-comment/

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net