Breaking Down California’s Insane Cannabis Laws

Learn Some of California’s Toughest Cannabis Rules

Pop culture would have you think that California is a dreamscape for stoners. But the state has historically regulated every aspect of the cannabis industry. Even though Congress has made strides towards federal legalization, you can never be too careful – especially in the Golden State. This is thanks to three agencies that regulate cannabis in California: the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). You’ll want to learn these five laws before getting involved in Cali’s cannabis market.

Hours Of Operation Offer A Slim Window

The BCC enforces a rule that only allows retailers in California to sell or deliver cannabis between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. This doesn’t sound too harsh until you consider another rule: that “delivery” phase begins when a driver leaves the site and ends when they return. Thus, early morning or late-night deliveries have not accepted the way that they would be in other industries – food and alcohol, to name two. Some believe this seemingly tough restriction pushes Californians to the black market.

Merchandise Is Restricted, Too

Think of all the cannabis-themed merchandise you’ve seen. According to rules enforced by the BCC, licensed retailers are allowed to see branded merch when specifically permitted, but retailers cannot sell other licensees’ branded merch. This limits the sales a brand can rack up – and smaller businesses ultimately pay the price.

Next Up? Drive-Thru Sales

One BCC-enforced rule prohibits most sales of cannabis in a drive-in or drive-thru shops. There are a few exceptions: some business was accepted to do so before June 2018, and since the wave of drive-thru businesses that have flourished since the coronavirus pandemic began, the BCC has relaxed these rules a bit.

Even Packaging And Labels Have Restrictions

According to a rule enforced by the BCC, retailers can take cannabis and pre-rolls and repackage them, but not do the same for manufactured products. This rule was abruptly enforced, and some distributors have found the implementation of the rule confusing.

Hemp Bans

Even though hemp is popular around the world, in many cases, a CDPH rule bans the use of hemp or CBD in cannabis products. Specifically, it says:

A manufacturer licensee shall only use cannabinoid concentrates and extracts that are manufactured or processed from cannabis obtained from a licensed cannabis cultivator.”

The CDPH later elaborated, saying:

“Cannabis products may contain CBD derived from cannabis. Proposition 64 specifically excluded industrial hemp and its derivatives from the cannabis regulatory structure. Consequently, using cannabinoids acquired from outside of the regulated structure presents a risk of inversion of illicit cannabis products into the legal market and threatens the integrity of the track-and-trace system. In order to protect the highly regulated nature of the cannabis market, all cannabinoids must be acquired from licensed sources.”

Shortly after the rule was implemented, the state implemented a hemp cultivation plan, so the CDPH’s approach ultimately seems unnecessary in retrospect.