California’s Legal Cannabis Market is Growing Up Fast

This year marks a new phase in the evolution of California’s regulated market for cannabis. As of January 1, 2019, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (“CDFA”) no longer has the authority to grant provisional licenses for cannabis cultivation. Already-issued temporary licenses will be subject to an automatic extension of time for those who submitted applications for annual licenses on or before December 31.

The consequences of missing this deadline are significant. Cultivators who did not secure a temporary license will not be able to legally cultivate cannabis until they are issued an annual license. The application for an annual license is extensive, requiring submission of detailed site plans, corporate documents, surety bonds, and documentation of water rights. These applications require the work of surveyors, watershed biologists, and other third-party consultants.

Even if an annual application can be completed promptly, the CDFA has taken six months or more to review the applications and issue annual licenses. The result is that even those cultivators who have the necessary information for an annual license application right now could be unable to legally cultivate well into the growing season without a temporary license.

We are pleased to say that for many of our cannabis clients, we have beaten these critical deadlines and obtained temporary licenses from the State. Attorneys Jeff Slack and Willie Stein, along with support staff, worked hard in the last few months to marshal the required documents and submit temporary cultivation applications, followed by annual applications. We appreciate the hard work of the surveyors and consultants who produced the required site plans and water documents. Most of all, we appreciate our clients, who trusted us to manage a process with many moving parts and pitfalls.

Happy New Year from all of us at Janssen Malloy LLP. We wish you a prosperous and joyful year.