California regulators released the first draft of permanent adult-use and medical marijuana regulations on Friday, starting the clock on a process of hearings and public comment that will end later this year with a final set of rules governing the nascent industry.
The proposed rules are contained in 315 pages of documents issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health. Marijuana advocates and attorneys contacted by The Recorder said they were still scouring the proposals and declined any immediate comment on the contents.
“It will probably be a couple of days before we have our heads wrapped fully around the changes,” said Josh Drayton, spokesman for the California Cannabis Industry Association.
Still, several changes were readily apparent. Here’s a snapshot of the proposal:
New language will allow licensed marijuana deliveries in any city or county in the state, even those that ban retail outlets, processing and cultivation. The provisions are similar to legislation, now shelved, that would have barred local governments from stopping state-regulated companies from delivering to their residents. That bill drew opposition from cities and counties, which argued that local control is a key tenet of Proposition 64, the 2016 voter initiative legalizing recreational marijuana. Companies including WeDrop Cannabis Delivery, CannaWagon and Weedmaps lobbied for the bill.
Advertising restrictions are expanded.
The rules expand restrictions on marijuana advertising that might appeal to children, such as the use of inflatables, toys and cartoon characters. Additionally, outdoor advertising must be affixed to a building or a “permanent structure.” That would appear to bar roving billboards attached to trucks or truck trailers. As for billboards, “it would depend on the billboard,” said Bureau of Cannabis Control spokesman Alex Traverso. “We’d have to look it at case-by-case.” The bureau’s proposal also offers guidance for how advertisers can show that 71.6 percent of their audience is 21 years old or older.
Changes will require cannabis event-holders to provide more details about where licensed retailers will be set up, where attendees can light up or consume marijuana and where sales will occur. Cannabis-focused events have proven challenging for organizers working under the state’s emergency regulations. Organizers of the Chalice Festival sued the Bureau of Cannabis Control and the city of Victorville in June after they declined to issue permits for the event planned for the San Bernardino County fairgrounds this month.
The state’s emergency regulations have been in place since December 2017 and were re-adopted on a temporary basis last month.
“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.”
State agencies will hold 10 public meetings around the state through August to collect comments on the final rules. Comments can also be submitted by letter or email.
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