Credit: ALM

California’s cannabis regulators have taken to Instagram to market their plans and activities as the state racing toward the Jan. 1 launch of a multibillion-dollar recreational market.

The new Instagram page, along with a revamped website, is part of a rebranding effort by the Bureau of Cannabis Control as it shifts from its old mission of developing medical marijuana rules to a broader focus on adult-use sales, testing and marketing.

“We do have quite a few people who prefer Instagram,” said Alex Traverso, the bureau’s chief of communications. The Department of Food & Agriculture’s cultivation-licensing program, CalCannabis, is also on the photo-sharing app because “they find a lot of growers prefer it to Facebook or Twitter.”

The bureau also unveiled a new agency logo, a gold-colored circle enclosing a marijuana leaf rising above V-shaped hills.

One of the first posts on the new Instagram site is the expected announcement that the bureau and two affiliated licensing agencies have formally withdrawn medical marijuana regulations that were introduced in the spring. Those rules were superseded by legislation, passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor this summer, that merged laws for both medical and recreational cannabis.

The state on Friday made public hundreds of comments submitted on the preliminary medical marijuana rules. Bureau chief Lori Ajax has said that state officials will use those comments to shape emergency regulations that will govern the first temporary licenses issued in January. The emergency rules are scheduled to be released in November.

Ajax told industry members attending a conference in Long Beach this week that the commercial licensing rollout is “not going to be perfect.” But she told growers and would-be recreational retailers not to expect a state crackdown on those temporarily stuck in the licensing maze immediately after Jan. 1.

“I don’t want you to have anxiety that we’re out there and we’re going to be enforcing everything right away,” Ajax said, according to the Associated Press.