January 1, 2018 is a day that will ring in eternal glory through the cannabis halls of Valhalla. Recreational pot can now be legally purchased in the Great Green State of California. California recreational dispensaries opened their doors on January 1 for the first time, inaugurating what proponents say will become the world’s largest market for recreational marijuana. This change will usher in a new era in which marijuana consumption, distribution, cultivation, manufacturing and transportation will start to look a lot more like the heavily regulated alcohol industry. The vastly complex new regulations that accompany recreational marijuana present unlimited opportunities for the marijuana friendly community. In order to truly capitalize on the new recreational marijuana industry we must first make sense of all the new laws. Part one of the recreational pot puzzle is to understand who is control of all this reefer madness.
The State of California has set up a massive army of pot regulators led by Lori Ajax, the marijuana commander in chief. The three main licensing authorities are the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control is a branch of the CA Department of Consumer Affairs. The Bureau is tasked with licensing testing labs, retail for both storefront and delivery, distribution and micro-business. CalCannabis is part of the CA Department of Food and Agriculture. CalCannabis is responsible for licensing cultivators and managing the track-and-trace system. The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch falls under the CA Department of Public health. The MCSB licenses manufacturers of edibles, concentrates and topicals.
These are the three heads of the regulatory monstrous hydra. Each agency has promulgated very detailed rules for all those planning to hone their trade in this green new world. Lets start off with the Bureau of Cannabis Control and specifically the category of delivery.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control, (BCC), is charged with the management of Type 9, Non-Storefront Retailer and Type 10, Storefront Retailer licenses. Type 9 and Type 10 license holders are permitted to deliver cannabis goods to customers.
1. A type 9 or 10 license holder may utilize the same physical location for both medicinal and recreational sales.
2. Sales, inside storefront or delivery, may only occur between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm.
3. All marijuana must be in a opaque package when leaving the store.
4. Only an employee of the licensed facility may make deliveries, no independent contractors.
5. Deliveries must only be made to a physical address.
6. No delivery driver may carry more than three thousand dollars, ($3,000), of marijuana goods at any time.
7. All delivery vehicles must maintain real time GPS tracking and be able to provide GPS logs to the agency.
8. Manned motor vehicles only and delivery vehicles must be enclosed; no motorcycles or scooter.
9. All delivery drivers must be 21 and over.
In addition, the Bureau has also very specific rules in place that prohibit drivers from consuming marijuana while delivering and not being allowed to leave the State. Most of these things are fairly common sense but there are some additional details that will likely be foreign to most people currently operating marijuana delivery services. The Bureau has implemented very strict tracking requirements. The Bureau now requires documentation to begin with a delivery manifest.
The manifest log shall be as follows:
A. The delivery request shall be generated at the time of a request from consumer and contain all of the following information:
1. Name and address of retailer.
2. First name and employee number of retail delivery employee who delivered the product.
3. First name and employee number of retail employee who prepared the order for delivery.
4. The first name of the customer and a retailer assigned customer number for the person requesting the delivery.
5. Delivery address, detailed description of all marijuana goods including weight, volume or any other accurate measure of goods.
6. Upon delivery, the amount paid including taxes and signature with date and time of person receiving delivery.
The Bureau now also mandates no roaming delivery services. The new rules require the delivery route to be from retail licensed premise to the delivery address. The delivery shall not deviate from the delivery path except for necessary rest, fuel, or vehicle repair stops. This new requirement will make logistics a lot more challenging for current operators under the medical laws.
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is Editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).