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Legislative Update: Assembly Bill 97

Recently the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated information brought on by the signing of the Budget Trailer bill AB 97 earlier this year. You can read the full release below:

Assembly Bill (AB) 97, a trailer bill passed by the California State Legislature and signed into law earlier this month, modified the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). Key provisions affecting cannabis manufacturers and potential applicants are highlighted below.

PROVISIONAL LICENSES

Applicants are no longer required to hold or have held a temporary license to be eligible for a provisional license, and the sunset date for provisional licenses has been extended to January 1, 2022.

Provisional licensees must adhere to all statutory and regulatory requirements, including use of the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace system. To be eligible for a provisional license, the applicant must submit a complete annual license application and be in the process of complying with local ordinances and completing requirements for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

For Applicants:

  • All those with pending annual license applications will be evaluated to determine eligibility for a provisional license. No action is needed from the applicant unless contacted for more information regarding an application.
  • New applicants must complete the online license application, available through the CDPH website: www.cdph.ca.gov/mcsb/apply. Eligibility for a provisional license will be assessed during the application review process.

Applicants with questions can contact the CDPH licensing team at MCLS@cdph.ca.gov.

For Local Jurisdictions:

  • We will contact the local jurisdiction during the review process to verify the applicant’s compliance with local ordinances. Once a provisional license is issued, we will maintain close communication with local jurisdictions about the status of the licensee’s authorization, including when city and county governments complete their cannabis-specific permitting and approval processes.
  • We will continue to conduct inspections and follow up with provisional and annual license holders to ensure they are meeting all state statutory and regulatory requirements.

COMPARABLE-TO-ORGANIC PROGRAM

MAUCRSA initially tasked the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) with establishing a program for cannabis that would be comparable to the National Organic Program and the California Organic Food and Farming Act. With the passage of AB 97, CDPH is now also tasked with developing comparable-to-organics standards and certification for manufactured cannabis products.

CDFA and CDPH are working closely to develop California state standards and certification for cannabis and cannabis products that are comparable to the National Organic Program. CDFA will establish their program by January 1, 2021, and CDPH will establish their program by July 1, 2021. Register to receive email updates on these programs as more information is released:

Please note: Current federal and California state laws restrict cannabis and cannabis products from using the word “organic” on their label. Until CDFA and CDPH programs are adopted, cannabis and cannabis products are prohibited from being labeled or represented as being organic. Information about how these laws currently apply to cannabis and cannabis product labels are available on the CDPH FAQs page

Legislative Text:

ABOUT THE MANUFACTURED CANNABIS SAFETY BRANCH

The California Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) is one of three state licensing authorities charged with oversight of commercial cannabis activity in California. MCSB is responsible for licensing and regulating cannabis manufacturers and for establishing statewide standards for packaging and labeling of cannabis and cannabis products.

MCSB strives to protect public health and safety by ensuring commercial cannabis manufacturers operate safe, sanitary workplaces and follow good manufacturing practices to produce products that are free of contaminants, meet product guidelines and are properly packaged and labeled.

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