California’s New Cannabis Rules Allow Large Farms, Ban Bicycle Delivery
Cannabis regulations have thus far lagged behind the legalization movement; even as recreational cannabis has become legal in several states, the rules on how it's produced and sold are unclear.
The nebulous nature of legality thus far—legal to possess, but not legal to grow except in very small quantities—has led to issues like cannabis farms producing Superfund-level pollution in the forests of northern California. But finally, three of the state’s regulatory agencies (Department of Health, Department of Food and Agriculture, Bureau of Cannabis Control) have released the rules that go into effect on January 1, 2018.
The rules are vast and sweeping, ranging from testing of THC levels to fees to all the new licenses that will be needed to legally sell the various cannabis-containing substances. You can read them here, but we gathered some highlights.
There will be no size restrictions on cannabis farms, which was something some groups had pushed for. This is likely to result in the creation of enormous farms, rather than many smaller farms. There will be a sliding scale of fees, depending on the size of the farm, but even the highest fee level—$125,000 for farms earning more than $80 million per year—is unlikely to discourage large operations.
Delivery operations will be legal, but, interestingly, only with certain vehicles. Car and truck deliveries are legal; bicycles are not.
Advertising and marketing are a major focus; no cartoons or other designs that could be construed as kid-friendly will be permitted.
The THC levels—that’s exactly how much of the psychoactive substance within the cannabis plant—will be limited for cannabis food products, usually called edibles: no more than 10 mg per serving, and no more than 100 mg per package. It’s probably worth noting that THC leveling is not a precise method of figuring out the potency of a product, though we don’t really have a better option right now.
California will start accepting temporary business permits in December.