After California voted in favor of allowing the recreational use of marijuana, the entrepreneurial bug bit many California residents. Consequently, three licensing agencies were tasked with creating emergency cannabis regulations prior to the issuance of any commercial cannabis licenses.

Sunset at Manhattan Beach and Pier in Southern California, Los Angeles.The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) licenses microbusinesses, distributors, testing laboratories, and retailers. The California Department of Public Health’s “Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch” licenses the manufacture of cannabis edibles. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) licenses cannabis cultivators and has been tasked with implementing a statewide track-and-trace system to account for the distribution of cannabis from the point of seed-to-sale.

On December 15, 2017, the BCC issued its first twenty commercial cannabis temporary licenses. The temporary licenses are valid for 120 days. Temporary licenses may be extended for additional 90-day periods; provided, however that an application for permanent licensure has been filed and is pending with the appropriate licensing agency. The process of obtaining a cannabis license is robust because of dual-licensing requirements – attaining city and or county approval is one of the conditions to obtaining licensing approval by the state.

Additionally, on December 18, 2017, the CDFA opened its portal to begin accepting applications for cultivation licenses.

The licensing agencies are ramping up for distribution of more licenses post January 1, 2018 when recreational use of marijuana takes effect.