Consolidation Of California Cannabis Authorities Proposed

A proposal included in California Governor Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal for the 2021-2022 fiscal year seeks to consolidate the state’s three cannabis authorities into a single department.

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) on Friday announced the proposal, which would create the new Department by July 1, 2020, if approved by the Legislature.

The proposal was first announced in January 2020 but was delayed due to COVID-19.

Streamlining the Process

According to a BCC press release, the proposal seeks to better serve cannabis businesses, local governments, and the public by functioning as a single point of contact and using existing funds more wisely by reducing redundancies.

The proposal also seeks to create consistent operations and procedures that streamline the application and licensing process and offer better service and coordination.

“The three state licensing authorities have begun to prepare and plan for the consolidation and, most importantly, to ensure continuity of operations,” states the BCC release. “We are committed to making this transition in a manner that reduces unnecessary disruption to the marketplace and California businesses. Our team members will remain available to applicants and licensees as they continue their routine business activities.”

The budget change proposal would establish the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.

The proposal would also create the DCC infrastructure by shifting the existing funding and positions that support the three state cannabis licensing authorities.

The proposal seeks to secure $153,834,000 in funding for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and 621 positions.

Retaining Continuity

In addition to transferring existing positions, the proposal would promote transition continuity through the continued use of the state’s Track-and-Trace System.

Interagency agreements with existing departments for services would provide added stability during the transition while the DCC continues to develop.

The proposal would also allow the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to retain the Cannabis Appellations Program.

The OCal Programs, which will establish cannabis standards comparable to the National Organic Program, will remain within the CDFA and the California Department of Public Health.

A summary and detail of the Governor’s proposed budget are available for viewing on the California Budget website, along with the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan, revisions, and the enacted budget.