Last year, Californians passed Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use across the state. On Thursday, November 16th, state regulators released their 276-page set of cannabis rules to go along with the legalization that is set to be effective January 1, 2018. In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce and grow six marijuana plants at home.
Scaled fees are spelled out, with costs for annual licenses ranging from $800 for businesses transporting cannabis, up to $120 thousand for businesses doing multiple activities and making more than $4.5 million annually.
Even though the state seems ready for the January 1st roll-out, some cities – including two of California’s largest, Los Angeles and San Francisco – will not be ready. The reason that matters is that, to apply for a state license, a grower or seller first needs a local permit; therefore, residents in those areas will have to wait until their city finalizes the local cannabis rules.
For people in cities that are prepared for the January 1st date, starting in December, they will be allowed to apply for licenses through an online portal. The licenses issued through the online application will be temporary, however – good for 120 days, with a possible 90-day extension. During that time, the state will review the application and will issue a longer-term license upon approval.
For the first six months of 2018, California’s regulatory bureau for cannabis has said it will be more lenient in enforcing the newly implemented laws, recognizing that it will take some time to adjust to the new system. Going forward, the state has organized a 22-member Cannabis Advisory Committee, which met for the first time two weeks ago, as the regulations were released in Sacramento. However, the public has raised concerns about who was chosen, stating that they wanted to see more representation from the cannabis community.
Following are some of the highlights of the newly released rules:
- Cannabis must be delivered by “human-powered” car or truck only; no delivery by rail, aircraft, self-driving cars, bicycles, or drones
- Cannabis businesses cannot be within 600 feet of a school or youth center
- Shops have to close by 10 p.m., and must be equipped with 24-hour video surveillance
- Edible products must be produced in serving sizes that have no more than 10 milligrams of THC and 100 milligrams of THC for the total package
- Shopkeepers will only be allowed to give free cannabis products to medical patients or their caregivers
- Through July 1st, untested products can still be sold, but need to either include a label stating so or be packaged it in child-resistant packaging
- Goods can be advertised, but only in outlets where at least 71.6 percent of the audience is ”reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older”
- Businesses cannot mix marijuana with alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or seafood
- Products cannot be in the shape of a human being, animal, insect, or fruit