5 Quick Facts About Adult-Use Cannabis in California

On January 1, 2018, it became legal for adults at least 21 years of age to purchase cannabis in the state of California without a physician’s recommendation. Nearly three months since this milestone, the rules surrounding cannabis, and especially cannabis business licensing, remain unclear. To help you understand the complexities of the cannabis market, we’ve put together a list of five quick facts about the adult-use scene in California.

1. They were the first!

Under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, California was the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use. For 20 years, the medical cannabis market thrived before the passage of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act of 2016, which allows adults to purchase cannabis legally.

2. Be aware of consumption rules

While it’s now legal for adults 21 and older to buy cannabis, consumption is a different story. Currently, it is illegal to consume, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in public. It is also illegal to open a package containing cannabis or any cannabis products in public. This includes parks, sidewalks, businesses, and residential areas. Some local jurisdictions allow consumption on premises of licensed retailers, but it’s not common, and you should always check with your local jurisdiction before partaking.

3. Check your licenses

Cannabis businesses are required to obtain both a state and local license. State licenses are issued by one of three authorities, depending on the business type:

  1. The Bureau of Cannabis Control
  2. Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, part of the California Department of Public Health
  3. CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture

4. Different License Types

Licensing is well underway, with the aforementioned authorities currently accepting applications. The different license types businesses can apply for include: cultivation, manufacturing, testing laboratory, retailer, distributor, and microbusiness. Licenses fall into one of two categories: “M” for medical or “A” for adult use. Testing laboratories are the exception to the M and A designation, as they can test products intended for use by both sectors.

5. The market is still developing

Industry experts are planning to see an overall elevation in cannabis business practices within the state of California. Consumers can also expect to see improvements in dispensary aesthetics and customer experience, more robust product matrices and product literature, and a stronger prevalence of highly professional branding—some of these changes incited by increased competition, others by new rules and regulations. For example, the state will enforce product labeling rigidly, requiring labels to clearly and accurately indicate where the cannabis was grown.

How Point7 Can Help: 

As a state that stretches 900 miles in length and has 40 million residents, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of information to digest regarding California’s adult-use market. Staying up to date on the intricacies of your cannabis market is integral to success in the business. If you’re looking for guidance on application submission, licensing, compliant branding and packaging, or any other business factor, contact us today for a free exploratory call. We’re here to help you succeed during this exciting time!

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