California Cannabis Regulations

Licensing & Compliance for California Cannabis Regulations, 2018 Important 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 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

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.

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 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.

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

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 basic nutritional information Mechanical licensing and regulating commercial cannabis manufacturers property for the commercial cannabis activity distributors Industrial Hemp Advisory Board remove THC/CBD Incorporating THC/CBD concentrates manufacturer's name waste disposal protocol Premises Diagram medicinal and adult-use or both markets meat and seafood, and other products valid waiver 2018 important information capsules three state cannabis-licensing authorities topicals Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing division manned motor vehicle separate applications licensing scheme quality control Heavy Metals Testing disposal LICENSE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS medicinal and adult-use commercial cannabis activity regulatory framework THC levels volatile solvent Food-grade Butter/Oil 2018 resolutions health impacts of cannabis must enter certain events allergen information carbohydrates and fat per serving annual license application licensed premises commercial cannabis products no infusion of alcohol cannabis market Proposed Section 40133 Cannabis Manufacturing informational panel packaging and labeling requirements commercial cannabis manufacturing activity mandated warning statements local jurisdiction workshops hosted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control Premises Information highly-concentrated THC/CBD such as oil, wax and resin supplemental label 2018 new laws exit packaging sales of cannabis goods transporting cannabis goods sugar packaging and labeling Water Activity Testing of Solid or Semi-Solid Edibles CDTFA seller’s permit Microbial Impurities Testing (Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp.) chain of custody persons with a financial interest in the cannabis business extracts loan provided to a commercial cannabis business periods of 90 days extensions Category I Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing member manager temporary license laboratory quality assurance security medicinal and adult use cannabis goods transported together waste management laws Water/Food-grade Dry Ice ingredient list product formulation cannabis sales and/or consumption Vehicle Requirements definition of owner inventory certified by a California-licensed engineer Cultivation less than 10,000 Local Authorization conditional license online licensing system child-resistant packaging amount of THC/CBD per serving and per package Transport vehicles alarm system labels not be attractive 2018 proposed changes no added caffeine cannabis training purchasing cannabis products on tribal lands period of 120 days infusion M-license operating premises Mycotoxins Testing licensing cannabis retailers BUREAU OF CANNABIS CONTROL good manufacturing practices contaminant free 600 foot radius of a school Edibles– Products three cannabis licensing authorities A-licensees child-resistant outer package disposal and destruction methods Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) highly-concentrated oils or waxes activity for a period of 120 days extraction Local Jurisdictions packaging and labeling requirements for pre-rolls managing member at least 20% ownership interest Distributor transport health claims Manufacturing (non-volatile) an officer or director of a cannabis business M-licensees Percentage of ownership final form Ethanol manufacture cannabis products concentrate shares of stock that are less than 5% of the total shares in a publicly traded company Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Cannabis Act of 2016 packaging The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) Identifying information 600-foot radius of a school Premises diagram public Licensee Lookup Tool commercial cannabis manufacturing dried flower commercial cannabis activity CDPH-issued universal symbol manufacturing (Level 1 manufacturing, Type 6) Individual Owner California Department of Public Health structure and formation documents Labor peace agreement evidence of rehabilitation financial interest holder secondary package evidence of the legal right to occupy the premises licensing cannabis third-party testing laboratories cannabis plants Non-Storefront Retailer (Type 9) shipping manifest medicinal commercial cannabis activity Temporary event up to 4 days Transition Period 100 mg of THC per package Track and Trace written procedures for inventory control Operating Procedures minimum standards for extraction processes 120 days commercial cannabis manufacturing in California 2018 recent news cannabis event organizer license Type S share facility space primary panel requirements secured area opaque exit package secondary packaging 2018 updates Category II Residual Pesticides Testing equity interest in a commercial cannabis business the commercial medicinal and adult-use (recreational) entry into the legal, regulated market licensed cannabis manufacturers cultivation access to the area(s) loop system security and cannabis waste disposal Bond in the amount of $5,000 Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act Seller’s permit number Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) Retailer (Type 10) Criminal History Extractions using CO2 Distributor Transport Only potentially-hazardous foods contaminants stickers 2018 regulations 2,000 mg of THC per package for the medicinal-use market surety bond testing laboratories government warning statement label adult-use commercial cannabis activity Temporary License Application licensing cannabis microbusinesses local jurisdiction authorization amount of sodium supply chain nonlaboratory quality control Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch tamper-evident amount of THC content ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation recordkeeping licensed physical location (premises) Butane/Hexane/Propane MCSB’s temporary license application A-license and an M-license for the same commercial cannabis activity consumption of alcohol or tobacco Terpenoids Testing shaped like a human, animal, insect, or fruit cannabis waste licenses for both medicinal and adult-use cannabis manufacturing at the same premises commercial cannabis manufacturers tobacco products Business Organizational manufacturing cannabis products microbusinesses Microbial Impurities Testing (A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger, A. terreus) persons 21 years of age or older licensing cannabis distributors alcoholic beverages 2018 compliance Personnel Requirements Foreign Material Testing Microbusiness small product packaging Proposition 65 California Public Records Act finished product manufacturing Physical address product as a candy prohibited tinctures Owner local jurisdiction’s requirements Homogeneity Testing of Edible Cannabis Products manufacturing activities A-license product guidelines CDPH-9041 labeling unique ID/batch number supply chains for medicinal and adult-use cannabis products Temporary Cannabis Event Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act of 2015 payable to the state of California storage of cannabis goods delivery vehicle $3,000 of cannabis goods Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) Fingerprints ownership premises is not within a Government track and trace system Licensee Lookup Tool A-license and an M-license Moisture Content Testing conducting quality assurance review Business and Professions Code section 26050.1 Financial information Manufactured Cannabis Licensing System (MCLS) Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) regulations for medicinal and adult-use cannabis identity of the product testing methods Arranging for laboratory testing Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch testing of cannabis goods 2018 fines inventory and quality control ANTICIPATED ANNUAL (NONTEMPORARY) LICENSE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS The California Department of Public Health's immature live plants and seeds being transported from a licensed nursery license review process 2018 problems investment into a commercial cannabis business requiring refrigeration edibles packaging opaque at least 99% purity hydrocarbon-based solvents compliance with local jurisdiction Live Scans for each owner vape cartridges 2018 laws Cannabinoids Testing convicted of a substantially related crime cultivation (on an area less than 10,000 square feet) disclosure of all criminal convictions Business Information compliance with regulations manufacturing practices list of artificial food colorings Carbon Dioxide (CO2) premises diagram cannabis industries manufacturers who package for other producers Financial Interest operating procedures inhalable cannabis Form # CDPH-9041 Retailer (nonstorefront) transportation and security Licensee Information designated structure retailers aggregate interest of 20% or more medicinal and adult-use markets MCSB MANUFACTURED CANNABIS SAFETY BRANCH limited to a maximum of 1,000 mg per package motor carrier permit sanitary workplaces required limits transport cannabis goods to retailer cannabis products in container or wrapper for sale Conducting quality assurance review of cannabis goods cannabis cartoons edible products local jurisdiction’s ordinances and regulations licensed cannabis cultivators public health and safety no infusion of nicotine hang tag or a peel-back label commercial kitchens Local Issuing Authority medicinal and adult-use cannabis manufacturing pre-made or purchased cannabis adult-use products testing lab sanitary and hazard-free environment Application Checklist licensed cannabis distributors cannabis cultivation licensing Licensees The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing state cannabis licensing California Department of Public Health (CDPH) onsite consumption of cannabis goods Temporary License Application Information comply with all packaging and labeling requirements 2018 issues some nutritional facts Category I Residual Pesticides Testing re-sealable Bond and Insurance Information diagram of the business’s layout transportation of cannabis goods exception for testing laboratories CO2 and ethanol extractions emergency regulations 2018 revisions CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF CANNABIS CONTROL procedures for inventory control scaled to the gross annual revenue of the licensed premises regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in California paper inserted into the packaging Category II Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing onsite sale and consumption of cannabis goods limited to a maximum of 10 mg of THC per serving Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (PPPA) transportation Completed Temporary License Application Form Local Authorization Attachment sampling standards shared-use manufacturing facilities destruction of cannabis goods and more.

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