Navigating California’s Three Cannabis Regulatory Bodies

Due to COVID-10, the long-awaited consolidation is on the back burner.

  • Category
    Cannabis
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    Tinnakorn Jorruang/Getty Images

The state of California has three regulatory bodies that govern cannabis law: the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), the California Department of Health-Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (CDPH), and the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC). Simply put, the CDFA oversees cultivators, the CDPH sets the requirements for manufacturers, and the BCC regulates licenses for retailers, distributors, labs and events.

The three-part system has proven to be such a bottleneck that California Governor Gavin Newsom pledged to merge all three branches into one single entity—the Department of Cannabis Control—sometime this year, but the impact of COVID-19 has put that plan on the backburner until at least 2021.

In the meantime, growers and sellers need to make do with the system we’ve got, which means getting intimately familiar with what you can and can’t do in the cannabis business. For a thorough dive into each department, and a list of potential pitfalls to watch out for, check out this thorough article here.