Industry Licensing Law & Compliance for California Cannabis Regulations, 2020 Industry News, Events, Information & Updates

California Cannabis Regulations

State Authority & Contact:

Bureau of Cannabis Control (CA Department of Consumer Affairs)
PO Box 419016, Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9106
Phone: 1-833-768-5880

Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (CA Department of Public Health)
PO Box 997377, MS 7606, Sacramento CA 95899-7377
Phone: 855-421-7887

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing (CA Department of Food & Agriculture)
Phone: 1-833-CALGROW (1-833-225-4769)

Scope of Licenses:

Medicinal (M-) and Adult-Use Recreational (A-):
  • Type 1 (Cultivation; Specialty outdoor; Small)
  • Type 1A (Cultivation; Specialty indoor; Small)
  • Type 1B (Cultivation; Specialty mixed-light; Small)
  • Type 1C (Cultivation; Specialty cottage; Small)
  • Type 2 (Cultivation; Outdoor; Small)
  • Type 2A (Cultivation; Indoor; Small)
  • Type 2B (Cultivation; Mixed-light; Small)
  • Type 3 (Cultivation; Outdoor; Medium)
  • Type 3A (Cultivation; Indoor; Medium)
  • Type 3B (Cultivation; Mixed-light; Medium)
  • Type 4 (Cultivation; Nursery)
  • Type 5 (Cultivation; Outdoor; Large)
  • Type 5A (Cultivation; Indoor; Large)
  • Type 5B (Cultivation; Mixed-light; Large)
  • Type 6 (Manufacturer 1) Extraction: Non-volatile Solvents, Mechanical Methods
  • Type 7 (Manufacturer 2) Extraction: Volatile Solvents
  • Type N Infusions (optional packaging and labeling)
  • Type P Packaging & Labeling Only
  • Type S (coming soon, shared-use manufacturing facilities)
  • Type 8 (Testing Laboratory)
  • Type 9 (Non-Storefront Retailer)
  • Type 10 (Retailer)
  • Type 11 (Distributor)
  • Type 12 (Microbusiness)
  • Type 13 (Distributor Transport Only)
  • Type 14 (Cannabis Event Organizer)

California Cannabis Regulation References:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for creating the state cannabis cultivation regulations?

The California Administrative Procedure Act establishes the rulemaking procedures and standards for California’s state agencies. The act’s requirements are designed to provide the public with a meaningful opportunity to participate in the adoption of state regulations and help ensure the regulations are clear, necessary, and legally valid. The majority of adopted regulations that conform to the Administrative Procedure Act are submitted to the Office of Administrative Law as a “regular rulemaking.” Unless a proposed rulemaking action is submitted to the Office of Administrative Law as an “emergency rulemaking,” or is exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act, the regular rulemaking process must be followed when a state agency undergoes a rulemaking action.

Where can I read more about California’s cannabis licensing process?

For information about state licenses for cannabis farmers, please visit the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing website at For details on other types of cannabis licensing in California, including manufacturing (such as edibles), testing, distribution, and retail, go to the California Cannabis Portal at

What is the emergency rulemaking process?

Before California Governor Jerry Brown approved the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) in June 2017, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) had followed the regular rulemaking process and submitted proposed regulations for the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act to the Office of Administrative Law. However, once MAUCRSA became law, CDFA had to withdraw those regulations; instead, a new set of regulations consistent with changes in the new law was proposed in November 2017. CDFA followed the emergency rulemaking process for these regulations. This will be followed immediately by the regular rulemaking process to make the regulations permanent. To initiate the emergency rulemaking process, the state agency files emergency regulations with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) at least 10 calendar days before the effective date. During the first five days of OAL’s review period, the public may submit comments to OAL, with a copy for the state agency. The state agency has until the eighth day of OAL’s 10-day review period to submit to OAL a rebuttal to any public comments; however, this step is optional. The OAL’s deadline for a decision is on the tenth day after the emergency regulations were filed, and, if approved, the emergency regulations are filed with the Secretary of State and will become effective immediately for 180 days. (MAUCRSA allows for one 180-day re-adoption if the agency is making progress toward adopting the permanent regulations.) For an illustrated step-by-step guide to this process, see the flowcharts on pages 5 and 7 for regular rulemaking and emergency rulemaking.

What is the regular rulemaking process?

The state agency must prepare the following documents and submit them to the Office of Administrative Law to initiate the regular rulemaking process: Economic Impact Assessment (for nonmajor regulations with less than $50 million in economic impacts) or Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment (also known as a SRIA, pronounced sir-RHEE-uh, for major regulations with more than $50 million in economic impacts) – A SRIA is required with the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) regulatory package because the cannabis cultivation regulations are considered a major regulation. It includes information on how the regulations will impact businesses and jobs and the potential impacts on competition and investment in California. The SRIA is posted on the California Department of Finance website at Economic and Fiscal Impact Statement (Form STD.399) – This is a California Department of Finance form that includes information on the estimated economic and fiscal monetary impacts of the proposed regulations. Notice of Proposed Action – This notice provides critical information about the regulations, including a summary of existing laws that pertain to cannabis, the specific statutory authority that requires CDFA to create regulations, and details about the process for receiving the public’s comments. Initial Statement of Reasons (ISR) – The Initial Statement of Reasons provides the rationale behind CDFA’s decisions for including each section of the regulations and describes the purpose, need, and benefits of the regulations. It also identifies the supporting materials used to make regulatory decisions. Proposed Text of Regulations (Express Terms) – This text identifies any proposed changes to the California Code of Regulations. The state agency must publish the Notice of Proposed Action in the California Regulatory Notice Register and mail a copy to those who have requested it. The agency also must post on its website the Notice of Proposed Action, Initial Statement of Reasons, and the Proposed Text of Regulations. Once a Notice of Proposed Action has been issued by the state agency and published by the Office of Administrative Law, a regular rulemaking record will officially be opened and the minimum 45-day public comment period commences. The state agency may hold a public hearing; if the agency does not schedule a public hearing, anyone interested in having one may submit a written request for a hearing at least 15 days prior to the close of the written comment period, and that request must be granted. The state agency then receives and reviews the comments received during the official public comment period—and must summarize and respond to all of the comments. Some comments might ask for clarification of the proposed regulations, other comments might propose regulatory changes. If the state agency makes changes to the regulations, the changes are categorized as follows: Nonsubstantial Changes—Or No Changes Nonsubstantial changes do not alter the regulatory effect of the proposed provisions, and therefore the rulemaking process continues. The state agency updates the Informative Digest and prepares a Final Statement of Reasons (with a summary and a response to the public comments) and a Final Text of Regulations. Substantial and Sufficiently Related Changes These are changes considered reasonably foreseeable based on the Notice of Proposed Action and must be made available for public comment for at least 15 days. The state agency mails a notice of opportunity for commenting on the proposed changes (along with a copy of the proposed changes) to each person who has submitted written comments about the proposal, testified at an official public hearing (and provided contact information), or asked to receive any notices of modification. The agency also must post this notice on its website. When no further substantial changes are made to the proposed regulations, the agency updates the Informative Digest and prepares the Final Statement of Reasons (with a summary and a response to the public comments) and the Final Text of Regulations. Substantial Changes Not Sufficiently Related—Or Major Changes These are changes to the original proposal that are not reasonably foreseeable based on the Notice of Proposed Action. The state agency is obligated to publish another Notice of Proposed Action in the California Regulatory Notice Register, and hold another 45-day or longer public comment period. When no further substantial changes are made to the proposed regulations, the agency updates the Informative Digest and prepares the Final Statement of Reasons (with a summary and a response to the public comments) and the Final Text of Regulations. The state agency must transmit a rulemaking action to the Office of Administrative Law for review within one year from the date the notice was published in the California Regulatory Notice Register. Once submitted, the Office of Administrative Law has 30 working days to conduct a review of the rulemaking record. Generally, regulations go into effect on one of four quarterly dates, which are based on the dates the final regulations are filed with California’s Secretary of State: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1. However, an effective date may vary if a specific effective date is stated in statute or other law, the adopting agency requests a later effective date, or the agency demonstrates good cause for an earlier effective date. For an illustrated step-by-step guide to this process, see the flowcharts on pages 5 and 7 for regular rulemaking and emergency rulemaking.

What is the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s regulatory authority for licensing cannabis cultivators and implementing a track-and-trace system?

When a state legislature passes—and the governor approves—a law (also known as a statute), this enacts a new program or changes the laws governing an existing program. After the law’s passage, one or more state agencies must adopt new regulations, amend existing regulations, and/or repeal existing regulations to ensure the program runs effectively. When the California State Legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in 2015, and California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) in 2016, both acts designated responsibilities for oversight of commercial cannabis to several state agencies. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) was granted the authority to (a) establish a cannabis cultivation licensing process for the state, and (b) develop a track-and-trace system to record the movement of cannabis and cannabis products through the state’s supply chain. As a result, CDFA created a new division called CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, which is tasked with overseeing these projects. On June 27, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the cannabis trailer bill (also known as California Senate Bill 94). A trailer bill is legislation that implements specific changes to the law to enact the state budget. Generally a separate trailer bill is needed for each major area of budget appropriation, such as transportation, human services, education, revenue, or, in this case, cannabis. These bills typically are negotiated as part of the entire budget package each fiscal year. In this instance, the cannabis trailer bill effectively merged the two existing cannabis bills—the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act—into one streamlined bill: the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). Having one comprehensive state law will provide for a more unified and efficient regulatory process governing both medicinal and adult-use (recreational) cannabis. For a link to the most recent version of MAUCRSA, please visit the CalCannabis website at

California Universal Symbol for Cannabis

California Universal Symbol for Cannabis

Download PNG file or Download JPG file

This site focuses or refers to information and services regarding inhalable cannabis Temporary License Application product guidelines A-license and an M-license for the same commercial cannabis activity Manufactured Cannabis Licensing System (MCLS) Business Information Local Authorization Extractions using CO2 loan provided to a commercial cannabis business contaminant free contaminants Form # CDPH-9041 Bond and Insurance Information 2020 recent news 2020 regulations health claims manufacturer's name Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (PPPA) sugar Seller’s permit number Retailer (nonstorefront) persons with a financial interest in the cannabis business Temporary License Application Information Terpenoids Testing Category II Residual Pesticides Testing licenses for both medicinal and adult-use cannabis manufacturing at the same premises Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing division manufacture cannabis products BUREAU OF CANNABIS CONTROL manufacturing cannabis products licensed physical location (premises) Distributor transport California Department of Public Health (CDPH) infusion Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act of 2015 small product packaging Retailer (Type 10) 2020 fines 100 mg of THC per package MCSB shipping manifest sampling standards labels not be attractive final form licensing scheme opaque exit package inventory loop system tamper-evident extraction highly-concentrated THC/CBD such as oil, wax and resin Category I Residual Pesticides Testing workshops hosted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control supply chain MANUFACTURED CANNABIS SAFETY BRANCH Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Cannabis Act of 2016 written procedures for inventory control cannabis training carbohydrates and fat per serving Food-grade Butter/Oil M-license Premises Diagram disposal alcoholic beverages public health and safety medicinal and adult use cannabis goods transported together A-licensees Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) purchasing cannabis products on tribal lands Premises Information tobacco products informational panel 2020 proposed changes Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) Cultivation less than 10,000 ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation manufacturers who package for other producers definition of owner concentrate testing of cannabis goods supply chains for medicinal and adult-use cannabis products CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF CANNABIS CONTROL designated structure an officer or director of a cannabis business testing lab activity for a period of 120 days entry into the legal, regulated market stickers disposal and destruction methods transportation comply with all packaging and labeling requirements Owner Criminal History equity interest in a commercial cannabis business Category I Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing licensing cannabis third-party testing laboratories medicinal commercial cannabis activity manufacturing (Level 1 manufacturing, Type 6) requiring refrigeration protocol 2020 resolutions regulatory framework persons 21 years of age or older chain of custody convicted of a substantially related crime scaled to the gross annual revenue of the licensed premises Personnel Requirements A-license and an M-license licensing cannabis microbusinesses managing member extracts license review process medicinal and adult-use markets Fingerprints track and trace system shaped like a human, animal, insect, or fruit Financial Interest Mycotoxins Testing 2020 compliance immature live plants and seeds being transported from a licensed nursery operating premises medicinal and adult-use commercial cannabis activity regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in California online licensing system nonlaboratory quality control security licensing cannabis distributors Microbial Impurities Testing (A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger, A. terreus) edible products manufacturing practices waste management laws transportation and security manufacturing activities labeling cultivation 2020 issues sanitary and hazard-free environment identity of the product unique ID/batch number The California Department of Public Health's storage of cannabis goods security and cannabis waste disposal vape cartridges Vehicle Requirements Incorporating THC/CBD concentrates structure and formation documents 2020 laws recordkeeping Microbusiness The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) secondary packaging ingredient list period of 120 days California Public Records Act licensed premises Licensees Water/Food-grade Dry Ice Local Issuing Authority potentially-hazardous foods Edibles– Products cannabis cultivation licensing testing laboratories Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control Ethanol evidence of the legal right to occupy the premises onsite sale and consumption of cannabis goods LICENSE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS quality control Microbial Impurities Testing (Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp.) cannabis adult-use products packaging and labeling requirements meat and seafood, and other products Premises diagram 2020 problems exception for testing laboratories commercial cannabis manufacturers Water Activity Testing of Solid or Semi-Solid Edibles licensed cannabis distributors hang tag or a peel-back label highly-concentrated oils or waxes diagram of the business’s layout Proposition 65 secondary package Completed Temporary License Application Form public Licensee Lookup Tool health impacts of cannabis Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) basic nutritional information commercial cannabis activity three cannabis licensing authorities 2020 new laws CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing retailers Application Checklist separate applications Business and Professions Code section 26050.1 premises diagram licensed cannabis cultivators investment into a commercial cannabis business primary panel requirements conditional license Manufacturing (non-volatile) 120 days ANTICIPATED ANNUAL (NONTEMPORARY) LICENSE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS cannabis waste packaging Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) MCSB’s temporary license application limited to a maximum of 1,000 mg per package child-resistant outer package evidence of rehabilitation Bond in the amount of $5,000 Foreign Material Testing aggregate interest of 20% or more cultivation (on an area less than 10,000 square feet) commercial kitchens access to the area(s) Financial information destruction of cannabis goods Cannabinoids Testing testing methods medicinal and adult-use cannabis manufacturing no infusion of nicotine minimum standards for extraction processes temporary license microbusinesses adult-use commercial cannabis activity must enter certain events cannabis plants valid waiver dried flower California Department of Public Health shares of stock that are less than 5% of the total shares in a publicly traded company local jurisdiction 600 foot radius of a school surety bond transport cannabis goods to retailer CDPH-9041 Licensee Information CDPH-issued universal symbol operating procedures amount of THC content Distributor Transport Only CO2 and ethanol extractions medicinal and adult-use or both markets Moisture Content Testing finished product transporting cannabis goods Temporary event up to 4 days hydrocarbon-based solvents government warning statement label sales of cannabis goods amount of sodium periods of 90 days extensions Arranging for laboratory testing waste disposal Business Organizational packaging and labeling requirements for pre-rolls cannabis sales and/or consumption cannabis products in container or wrapper for sale Carbon Dioxide (CO2) manned motor vehicle local jurisdiction’s ordinances and regulations Licensee Lookup Tool member manager procedures for inventory control re-sealable Live Scans for each owner Identifying information emergency regulations regulations for medicinal and adult-use cannabis conducting quality assurance review at least 20% ownership interest remove THC/CBD property for the commercial cannabis activity Physical address distributors cannabis market Type S share facility space annual license application consumption of alcohol or tobacco child-resistant packaging compliance with regulations capsules volatile solvent onsite consumption of cannabis goods mandated warning statements THC levels Non-Storefront Retailer (Type 9) three state cannabis-licensing authorities Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch Track and Trace amount of THC/CBD per serving and per package product as a candy prohibited cannabis industries some nutritional facts manufacturing Percentage of ownership commercial cannabis products Homogeneity Testing of Edible Cannabis Products allergen information Butane/Hexane/Propane certified by a California-licensed engineer M-licensees laboratory quality assurance Temporary Cannabis Event delivery vehicle $3,000 of cannabis goods Conducting quality assurance review of cannabis goods Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act 2020 important information Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch at least 99% purity 2020 updates A-license no infusion of alcohol Industrial Hemp Advisory Board paper inserted into the packaging Cannabis Manufacturing topicals commercial cannabis manufacturing local jurisdiction authorization licensed cannabis manufacturers 2,000 mg of THC per package for the medicinal-use market CDTFA seller’s permit 2020 revisions Individual Owner tinctures state cannabis licensing Mechanical inventory and quality control product formulation shared-use manufacturing facilities transportation of cannabis goods packaging and labeling Operating Procedures The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) exit packaging secured area limited to a maximum of 10 mg of THC per serving cannabis event organizer license ownership premises is not within a Government list of artificial food colorings required limits Labor peace agreement supplemental label payable to the state of California 600-foot radius of a school sanitary workplaces licensing and regulating commercial cannabis manufacturers financial interest holder cannabis cartoons edibles packaging opaque the commercial medicinal and adult-use (recreational) Local Jurisdictions good manufacturing practices commercial cannabis manufacturing activity pre-made or purchased Transition Period motor carrier permit Heavy Metals Testing Category II Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing Local Authorization Attachment no added caffeine compliance with local jurisdiction commercial cannabis manufacturing in California licensing cannabis retailers local jurisdiction’s requirements Transport vehicles alarm system Proposed Section 40133 disclosure of all criminal convictions and more.

In addition, Medium Indoor Monitor Type N – for infusions Limited-access area Environmental pathogen Bureau Primary panel Nursery Premises Volatile solvent Mixed-light Tier 2 Small Mixed-Light Tier 2 DPH-17-010E Track-and-trace systems track and trace system Specialty Cottage Outdoor Type 7 – for extraction using a volatile solvent (ex: butane, propane and hexane) Kief Informational panel Preventive controls Type 10 (Retailer) Labeling Pest Quarantine cakes, cookies, beverages and juices, tea and coffee, chocolates, gummies, gum, and mints Topical cannabis product Adulterated Type 1A (Cultivation; Specialty indoor; Small) Product Identity Type P Packaging & Labeling Only Type 6 – for extraction using a mechanical method or non-volatile solvent (ex: CO2, ethanol, water, or food-grade dry ice, cooking oils or butter) Theoretical yield Nonmanufactured cannabis product Type 5A (Cultivation; Indoor; Large) Department Medium Outdoor Commercial cannabis activity Type S (coming soon, shared-use manufacturing facilities) Type 3A (Cultivation; Indoor; Medium) Infusion products similar to traditional food products prohibited Processing Small Indoor Personnel Type 13 (Distributor Transport Only) Applicant Cultivation site Raw material Batch Contact surface Type 5 (Cultivation; Outdoor; Large) Proposition 65 warning statement Type 4 (Cultivation; Nursery) Outdoor cultivation Small Mixed-Light Tier 1 Type 1B (Cultivation; Specialty mixed-light; Small) Immature plant Request for Live Scan package flower or pre-rolls Type 7 (Manufacturer 2) Extraction: Volatile Solvents Manufacturer licensee Commercial-grade, non-residential door lock infused pre-rolls Type 12 (Microbusiness) list of cannabis manufacturers Small Outdoor Adult-use Market UID Adequate Indoor cultivation Processor Type 6 (Manufacturer 1) Extraction: Non-volatile Solvents, Mechanical Methods Medium Mixed-Light Tier 1 Type 8 (Testing Laboratory) Allergen Type 14 (Cannabis Event Organizer) Cultivation Type 5B (Cultivation; Mixed-light; Large) Component In-process material Type 3 (Cultivation; Outdoor; Medium) Pre-roll Specialty Outdoor Specialty Mixed-Light Tier 1 Finished product CBD from industrial hemp Unique identifier Type 2B (Cultivation; Mixed-light; Small) Manufacture Wet weight Harvest Batch Universal symbol Specialty Mixed-Light Tier 2 Microorganisms Type 3B (Cultivation; Mixed-light; Medium) Track and trace system THC limit of 10 milligrams per serving and 100 milligrams per package Sanitize Validation cannabis concentrates Verification Medium Mixed-Light Tier 2 Quality Process Mixed-light Tier 1 Package CBD alternate use of a manufacturing premises Actual yield Specialty Cottage Indoor Edible cannabis product Flowering Type 1 (Cultivation; Specialty outdoor; Small) Net weight Mixed-light cultivation adulteration Ingredient Quality control personnel Specialty Cottage Mixed-Light Tier 2 Type 1C (Cultivation; Specialty cottage; Small) Serving Holding infused butters and oils as concentrates Distribution Quality control operation MCSB 90-day extension periods Lot Mature plant Dried flower Processing aid Cannabis product THC Type P – for packaging and labeling only Watts per square foot Qualified individual Type 2A (Cultivation; Indoor; Small) Canopy Hazard Extraction Type 11 (Distributor) Nonvolatile solvent gross annual revenue for first year in operation under MAUCRSA Specialty Indoor Type 9 (Non-Storefront Retailer) Allergen cross-contact Licensee M-license Type 2 (Cultivation; Outdoor; Small) Specialty Cottage Mixed-Light Tier 1 Pathogen Type N Infusions (optional packaging and labeling) and more.

Disclaimer: Informational and educational purposes. Self-help services (not legal advice). Site is not affiliated with any state agency. Note that site might not contain the most updated information. Your receipt of any information from this site does not create a relationship. Prior results do not guarantee or suggest a similar result in other matters. No promise is made with regard to services or content's reliability, availabilty, or ability to meet any needs. Information and services provided "AS IS."

All Rights Reserved