CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC Cannabis Working Group Meets

The recreational use of cannabis is now legal in California, but there are regulatory deadlines looming that will shape the landscape of cannabis cultivation, retail sale, manufacturing, and distribution in California. CSAC convened the first meeting of our cannabis working group today with a goal to inform counties and receive their input as CSAC develops policy on adult recreational cannabis and anticipates commenting on draft regulations. The working group is co-chaired by Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell, Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley with Trinity County Supervisor Judy Morris as an alternate.

“It was very informative and helpful to have this conversation and discussion around what the state is doing in terms of the Medical Cannabis Regulatory and Safety Act (MCRSA)” said Supervisor Miley. “And we were also able to get some perspective from the state and to ask questions about the legalization of adult use.”

Nearly 80 people participated, either in person at CSAC or remotely via webinar. First on the agenda was Lori Ajax, the Chief of the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. The Bureau plans to release draft regulations for the medical use of cannabis in April, and draft emergency regulations regarding recreational use will likely be released in August.

Amber Morris, Branch Chief of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Branch, also presented to the group about the progress on drafting regulations and implementing the state’s track and trace system. She also shared an infographic that offers helpful information from calCannabis and other agencies.

Though the release and adoption schedule for state regulations will be very quick and doesn’t leave much time for stakeholders to offer input, both Ajax and Morris emphasized the importance of receiving feedback from stakeholders like counties. CSAC plans to convene the Cannabis Working Group to review regulations when they are available and will offer feedback to the state agencies.

CSAC Legislative Representative Cara Martinson provided an overview of the many cannabis-related bills currently active in the legislative process. The conversation then shifted to a discussion about CSAC policy platform language related to cannabis. Staff presented draft language and participants provided feedback and suggestions to cover the many complicated aspects of cannabis policy that need to be addressed.

This was the first meeting of the working group. The working group will continue to meet to finalize policy platform language and to work through the draft regulations once they are released. CSAC is planning a Cannabis Workshop as part of our Legislative Conference coming up in May. “We’ll most likely focus on the revenue collection and taxation side of things at the Legislative Conference,” said Martinson.

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