The Release of California’s Long-Awaited Cannabis Regulations

Posted on Behalf of  Elise De Gandiaga, Melinda Donnell

On November 16, 2017, California’s three state cannabis licensing authorities released California’s long-awaited regulations for commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis, which will be legal on January 1, 2018. The Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, the Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control collaborated to develop the regulations outlined in California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

Once the new regulations take effect on January 1, 2018, cannabis businesses will be allowed to apply for licenses. To help with the transition to a regulated commercial cannabis market, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the lead agency developing regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in California, has allowed a grace period beginning January 1, 2018 and ending July 1, 2018, which will allow licensees who have cannabis and cannabis goods held in inventory to transport and sell those products provided that they meet conditions outlined by each regulating agency.

In addition to daily retail sales limits for adult-use and medical customers and labeling requirements, some of the more notable additions or changes to the cannabis regulation include:

· Edible cannabis products cannot exceed 10 milligrams of THC in a single serving, and no product can exceed 100 milligrams of THC in a single package;
· Cannabis-containing lotions and tinctures can only contain up to 2,000 milligrams of THC for medicinal use, and up to 1,000 milligrams for adult-use;
· Cannabis products may not contain nicotine, added caffeine, seafood, dairy (except butter), or alcohol (with the exception of tincture products);
  o Exceptions include products with naturally occurring caffeine such coffee, tea, and chocolate
· Manufacturers must conduct and prepare a written hazard analysis to identify and/or evaluate known or reasonably foreseeable hazards for each type of cannabis product produced at their facility

Additionally, product testing for various contaminants must be conducted prior to releasing cannabis products for sale (BCC). Specifically, all cannabis harvested or cannabis products shall be tested for the following analytes set to a specified schedule: cannabinoids, moisture content, Category I & II Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals, Category I & II Residual Pesticides, microbial impurities, and homogeneity, “foreign material,” terpenoids, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and water activity. Depending on the chemical, the BCC has defined specific “action levels” or pass/fail standards that the cannabis industries must meet (BCC).

Cardno ChemRisk has experience assisting companies with assessing consumer products contaminated with metals and other analytes, cross contamination of different food products, and with performing human health risk assessments and hazard evaluations. If you would like to learn more about our capabilities, or have any questions about this topic, please contact Elise de Gandiaga at