How Can I Obtain Cannabis Legally?
Adults 21 and over can buy cannabis at retail dispensaries with an "A" adult use license as of Jan 1, 2018.
Medical users 18 and over with a California physician's recommendation can buy at stores with an "M" medical use license Some medical cannabis collectives may continue to operate temporarily during the transition to state licensing, but they must obtain a state license within a year.
Dispensaries can apply for both "A" and "M" licenses. Some localities are allowing medical sales only, while others are banning both medical and adult use. Only a limited number of California cities and counties are allowing "A" dispensaries in 2018.
Consumers can also have cannabis delivered from licensed type "A" and "M" delivery services. Delivery services can operate in regions that don't allow dispensaries, except for a handful of localities that have banned deliveries altogether (the legality of delivery bans is uncertain and may be challenged).
It is legal for any adult to buy or receive an ounce of cannabis from another, and to give away up to one ounce without compensation to other adults. Adults can also grow up to six plants at their residence.
Can I Smoke or Consume Cannabis in Public Places?
MAUCRSA prohibits smoking or consumption of medical and recreational cannabis in public places or in places where smoking tobacco is prohibited, which includes but is not limited to hallways and lobbies of apartment buildings and hotels, on the street, in schools, amusement parks, public parks and places of business usually open to the general public. Additionally, consumption or smoking of cannabis is prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school or youth area while children present, except on private residential property provided smoking is not detectable by children. One issue that will be before city councils and county boards of supervisors will be zoning issues which determine where people may and may not use marijuana for various purposes.
A person with a valid physician's recommendation can smoke where public smoking of cigarettes, cigars, etc...is allowed. However, there are FIVE places where a person with a valid physician's recommendation CANNOT SMOKE:
1. No smoking zone.
2. Within 1000 feet from a school or youth facility (unless in a private residence).
3. In a motor vehicle that is operating.
4. While operating a boat.
5. On a school bus.
Do I Need a State License to Grow Cannabis for Personal Use?
Under the MCRSA, qualified patients are exempt from the state license program if cultivating less than 100 square feet for personal medical use. However, this requirement begins on Jan 1, 2018. It is debatable whether the sunset clause applies to this requirement. The sunset clause is the part of the MCRSA that allows the collective defense until one year after the beginning of the new regime, namely January 1, 2019. Until then, a patient may possess what is reasonable for their medical needs, and there is currently a draft gubernatorial proposal to amend the MCRSA to allow that “reasonable needs” test to continue instead of the 100-square foot regime. As of Jan. 1, 2018, Primary caregivers with five or fewer patients are allowed up to 500 square feet (up to 30 plants). An exemption under MCRSA does not prevent a local government from further restricting or banning the cultivation, provision, etc. of medical cannabis by individual patients or caregivers in accordance with its constitutional police powers under Section 7, Article XI of the CA Constitution. MAUCRSA allows individuals to grow cannabis for personal non-medical use (up to six plants per residence) without a state license. Only six plants are allowed to be grown per residence. All plants and harvested cannabis in excess of one (1) ounce must be kept within the person’s private residence, in a locked space, that is not visible from a public place. But please note that MAUCRSA has statutory language that prevents CPS from interfering with families of patients on that basis alone, but is not explicitly extended to MAUCRSA users. So, it is best practice to have a medical recommendation if you are using or growing marijuana, if you are using it medically.
Can I Sell Homegrown Cannabis Plants or Products to Others without A License?
MAUCRSA does not allow the sale of homegrown cannabis, whether whole plant, clippings, clones, or any product derived from any part of the plant. But it does allow all Californians to give away under an ounce.
How Do I Qualify for Medical Cannabis?
California statutes give qualified patients who have a medical marijuana recommendation the right to access and use marijuana for medical purposes as prescribed by their physician. These medical conditions include the following in addition to any condition where medical marijuana provides relief:
• Chronic pain
• Persistent muscle spasms
• Severe nausea
• Chronic or persistent medical symptoms that:
1. May cause serious harm to the patient’s safety or physical or mental health
2. Limit the ability to conduct major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
County-issued medical marijuana ID cards can also be obtained in each county in California, making possession of certain amounts of marijuana a non-arrestable offense for patients.
If you suffer from an illness or condition that warrants medical marijuana use and you have been arrested for drug-related charges, our experienced team can help.
What Is a Medical Marijuana Identification Card and How Can It Help Me?
A medical marijuana county-issued identification card (MMIC) identifies qualified patients authorized by the State to use marijuana for medical purposes, pursuant to California’s medical marijuana statutes, the Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Marijuana Program Act. Qualified patients who have obtained a county-issued identification card may not be arrested by police or law enforcement for possessing marijuana, provided that they have less than 8 oz. with them at any given time. This is an added layer of protection over and above a doctor's recommendation, which provides only an affirmative defense from legal prosecution. Additionally, individuals may obtain an MMIC card to establish their status as a designated primary caregiver thereby allowing the individual to possess, purchase and cultivate on behalf of other medical marijuana patients.
How Do I Apply for An MMIC?
Although you do need a doctor's recommendation to receive an MMIC, you must apply for one through your county's Department of Public Health. Your doctor must affirm your need for medical marijuana.
Is My Personal Information in A State Database?
Yes and no. The state does maintain a Medical Marijuana Application System, but it does not keep records of your name, Social Security number or address. The only data kept are your unique ID number and the validity of your card. No employers can access this information.
What Amount of Processed Marijuana Can I Have in My Possession for Both Medical and Recreational?
In California, medical marijuana patients may possess any amount of marijuana that is reasonably related to the patient’s medical use, but the burden is on the patient to demonstrate the necessity of the amount possessed. Patients with an MMIC are immune from arrest if they possess no more than 8 oz. Following the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, adults 21 and over may legally possess and give away up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower and up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
Is There a Fee for Applying for An MMIC?
Most counties in California require an application fee during this process. In Los Angeles County, this fee is $153. Those who qualify for Medi-Cal may receive a discounted application fee rate of $75. Approval for an MMIC may take up to 35 days.
What Is the Process for Applying for A City or County License?
There are 58 counties in California and over 482 distinct municipalities in the state. Under the state regulations, each city and county has a right to create their own laws to regulate cannabis, up to certain limits. Because you will need a local license in order to apply for a state one under the dual licensing structure, the local laws are extremely pertinent to anyone hoping to obtain a license for their cannabis business.
Check with your City Council or County Board of Supervisors to see whether there are any ordinances in place or upcoming meetings relating to cannabis regulation. Some counties have temporary bans in place, while others are opening up for applications in the coming weeks, and still, others have temporarily closed applications while they are processing those who applied in 2016.
Attend your local City Council and Board of Supervisors meetings when there is medical marijuana on the agenda. As a member of the public, you will be able to contribute to the conversation and help shape the cannabis regulations in your local jurisdiction. If you hire us to consult regarding permitting or licensing, we can and do set up meetings with council and Board of Supervisor members to discuss our concerns and try to help shape the local regulations.
If the City or County is accepting applications, often the first step will be to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to confirm that your location is properly zoned and comports with the land use designations the City or County has passed. After your CUP is approved, you will move to the next step and be able to submit your Business License application permit. (note that this process varies by local jurisdiction)
What Are the Requirements in An Application for A City or County License?
The exact requirements will vary by jurisdiction. Typically, they fall into the following areas: Some cities and counties will require more than the below, and some will not require documents to support each of these categories.
Type of activity: each cannabis-related activity will have its own license under the new state and local compliance regimes. The main areas for licensing will be: cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution (dispensaries).
Some local jurisdictions are licensing for certain activities but not for others. For example, accepting applications for cultivation but banning applications for dispensaries.
Additionally, regarding cultivation, many jurisdictions have shown a preference for indoor cultivation over outdoor, due to the perceived nuisance of outdoor cultivation. Check with your local jurisdiction to see what activities are currently eligible for licensing applications.
Business plan: a business plan that outlines the objectives and operating structure of the company, as well as the key management and officers, will be required. The plan will also require projected operating costs and revenues, planned relationships with suppliers and/or distributors, and an operational overview of how the business will work and what will be accomplished in the first 12-24 months.
Zoning and Land Use: Is the property far enough from sensitive use areas? Is it in the correct zoning for land use purposes according to the municipal or county code (manufacturing, industrial, commercial vs. residential)? The state law requires that any marijuana business be at least 600 feet from a school. Some local jurisdictions have also included parks, daycare centers, and areas where youth congregate as “sensitive use.” Additionally, some have required 1,000 feet of distance. Also, note that federal law has enhanced criminal penalties for marijuana distribution within 1,000 feet of schools.
Security plan: many applications require a detailed security plan that shows alarms, personnel and strategy relating to securing the premises for retail (dispensaries) or cultivation operations.
Insurance: some applications will require that you show proof of insurance for your operation.
Site plans: some applications will require you to hire a civil engineer or architect to draw up site plans for your cultivation operation.
Environmental impact / Waste management: some applications will require a waste management plan and/or statement of water usage and how potential adverse consequences will be avoided.
Live Scan / Criminal History: Some jurisdictions will require a live scan of the applicants and a disclosure of any criminal history. Some have written the laws so that you will only be disqualified if your prior criminal history involves a crime of moral turpitude. Other regulations state that past marijuana crimes will not count against you so long as they were non-violent. However, check with your local jurisdiction.
Tax Returns: some jurisdictions require prior tax returns for the persons involved and the entity, if it has been in operation in the past.