State Cannabis Regulators Announce Application Deadline for Advisory Committee

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) has just announced the deadline of March 17, 2017, for submitting Cannabis Advisory Committee applications.

This committee will advise the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and the other two licensing authorities—the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing and the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety—on the development of cannabis regulations that protect public health and safety, while ensuring a regulated market that helps reduce the illicit market for cannabis.

Committee members will be selected by and will serve at the pleasure of the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The committee will consist of representatives from diverse backgrounds, including the cannabis industry, labor, state and local agencies, public health experts, representatives from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control who have expertise in regulating intoxicating substances for adult use, individuals with expertise in the medicinal properties of cannabis, and representatives from communities who have been disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policy, among others.

Those interested in serving on the committee can access the online application here: bmcr.ca.gov/about_us/documents/commitee_application.pdf

For additional information about BMCR or to subscribe to their email alerts, visit the BMCR website: bmcr.ca.gov/

Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation Chief Lori Ajax Serves on Emerald Cup Government Agencies Panel

The Government Agencies panel fields questions from attendees of the 13th Annual Emeral d Cup

The Government Agencies panel fields questions from audience members at the 13th Annual Emerald Cup

Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation Chief Lori Ajax participated in the Government Agencies panel at the 13th Annual Emerald Cup, held recently at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The Emerald Cup bills itself as California’s premier outdoor organic medicinal cannabis competition for growing and breeding. The two-day event boasts thousands of attendees who hear industry leaders in panel discussions and interact with innovative vendors.

With a booming industry and changing regulation, the panel provided a clearer picture of the current regulatory climate, not only for the end consumer but also the cultivators and workers within the industry.

Chief Ajax was able to share her perspectives having spent most of her career regulating the alcohol industry. She began her tenure with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as an investigator in the field and worked her way up through the ranks to Chief Deputy Director, gaining valuable experience to apply to another heavily regulated product, cannabis.

Other panel members included Assemblyman Jim Wood, who authored the Marijuana Watershed Protection Act which serves as the environmental cornerstone in California’s Medical Marijuana Regulations and Safety Act; Fiona Ma, a certified public tax accountant and Chairwoman of the California Board of Equalization; California Department of Pesticide Regulation Director Brian Leahy, a pioneer in organic and biodiversity farming; and Nathaniel Arnold, Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Participating in industry events like this helps us answer questions from the public and inform them about the bureau’s regulations development activities and gives bureau staff the opportunity to hear the industry perspectives,” said Chief Ajax.

To learn more about the regulations process and how to get involved, visit http://bmcr.ca.gov/meetings/materials/fact_sheet_regulations_process.pdf.

Update: Changes for New Medical Cannabis Regulation Bureau

Recent legislation made changes to the statutory scheme to regulate commercial medical cannabis here in California.  In 2015, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law three bills (Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643) that established a regulatory structure for medical cannabis in California.  This legislation included the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (Act) and established the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (Bureau) within the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Senate Bill 837, effective July 1, 2016, made several changes to this regulatory structure.  The Act was renamed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and the Bureau was renamed the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. The bill also moved the licensing of testing laboratories from the California Department of Public Health to the Bureau.

The Bureau is continuing its efforts to increase staffing, reach out to stakeholders, and work with other State agencies involved in the regulation of medical cannabis.  It is currently preparing to hold its pre-regulatory public meetings in the fall to provide information and receive public input on various topics that will be included in its regulations.

“The entire Bureau team is committed to ensuring we have a transparent process with significant public participation as we develop our regulations,” said Bureau Chief Lori Ajax.

Learn more on the Bureau’s website at http://www.bmcr.ca.gov and sign up for email alerts to receive updates as they become available at https://www.dca.ca.gov/webapps/bmcr/subscribe.php. Write to the Bureau at P.O. Box 138200, Sacramento, CA 95813-8200.