Local Permitting Requirement Change to State Cannabis License Law

Yesterday, June 27, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill No. 94. Senate Bill No. 94 amends the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and the Adult Use Cannabis Act (MCRSA) to create a single regulatory framework for both medical and recreational cannabis.
The bill amends MCRSA significantly by repealing the vertical integration requirements under MCRSA, amends the tax structure for cannabis, directs the California Department of Food and Agriculture to promulgate standards for “organic” cannabis and “origin” standards for cannabis.
Perhaps the most significant change to MCRSA, especially to local growers here in Humboldt County, is SB 94’s amendment to state permitting procedures. Under the prior version of MCRSA, a person or entity could not apply for a state license issued by the Department of Food and Agriculture unless that person or entity has received a license, permit, or authorization by a local jurisdiction. See Business and Professions Code §19322.
SB 94 amends B&P Code §19322 by adding language to B&P §26055 regarding procedures for applying for state licenses. New B&P §26055 (e) provides that “An applicant may voluntarily provide proof of a license, permit, or other authorization from the local jurisdiction verifying that the applicant is in compliance with the local jurisdiction.” The new bill puts the onus on the local jurisdiction to provide proof to the licensing authority that the applicant is not in compliance. B&P §26055 (g)(2)(B) states that an application for license shall be denied if the local jurisdiction “notifies” the bureau that an applicant is not in compliance with a local ordinance or regulation.
Reading between the lines, a local jurisdiction could not “notify” the licensing authority that an applicant is out of compliance with a local ordinance if the local jurisdiction is still processing an application for a local permit. To all of you who are fretting that your application may not be processed before state licensing comes, fear not. You can still apply for a state license if your local permit is pending with the local jurisdiction.