California Medical Marijuana Safety and Regulation Act Breakdown

The three bills signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October to oversee the medical cannabis industry in the State are comprehensive and will transform how we do cannabis business in the State. The following are simple breakdowns of what the laws do and the new licensing categories they create. I would encourage you to look them over and understand the components of these new laws, and what they are attempting to do to cannabis in California.

If you need help understanding how the new laws will affect your business and cannabis operations, and are interested in getting signed up on the MMC Consulting program so we can help you develop your business model and compliance modules to meet the demands of this new market, please contact me directly by email at:; or you can give us a call at 888-824-6863. We would love to work with you to make this transition as painless as possible. More info on that program can be found HERE.


Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

AB266, proposed by Bonta, relating to medical marijuana regulation. Signed by Governor Brown.

Topic: Formally establishes Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, seats bureau within Department of Consumer Affairs, Establishes Transport and Tracking authority, Directs taxation, fines and penalties for non-compliance

Summary: This law does the following:


Establishes that Licensed Professionals in Medical Marijuana (Cultivators, Manufacturers, Transporters, Distributors, Dispensaries) will be published.

Creates additional license categories to those cultivator licenses addressed in AB243. (See table on reverse).

States that a licensee can have more than one classification of license with certain limitations:

  • Cultivators which want to be manufacturer also can only hold a small crop license or smaller.
  • A 10A General Dispensary (less than 3 locations) can also get a manufacturer’s license, and in rare circumstances can also hold a cultivator license. This provision will expire in 2026.
  • Distributors MUST apply for a Transport license. A Transport license holder MAY apply for a Distributor license.

Empowers Enforcement of BMMR

Sets forth the procedural administration guidelines for the BMMR, and authorizes it to create an advisory committee to advise licensing and regulatory development for the Medical Marijuana program.

Creates rules for due process when enforcing any regulations established, licensing procedures and civil conduct of the BMMR, including partnerships between local jurisdictions in working with the state to enforce the codes.

Provides protections for landowners renting to cultivators and medical marijuana businesses providing they acted in good faith, shielding them from prosecution.

Establishes a record keeping process for compliance with holding a license and sets a penalty for improper or incorrect record keeping at a $30,000 fine.

Directs CalOSHA to review facility operations and design, if needed, industry specific regulations.

Sets Term for Grandfathered Collaboratives / Cooperatives Protections

In adding language to the Health and Safety Code via 11362.775, this legislation establishes a clock of one year for collectives and/or collaboratives in operations from the date they begin issuing licenses. An exception to this is the protections for a single caregiver who can raise for up to 5 patients for whom they are the designated caregiver.

License Type Table:


Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

SB643, proposed by McGuire, relating to medical marijuana regulation. Signed by Governor Brown.

Topic: Formally establishes Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, seats bureau within Department of Consumer Affairs, Establishes Transport and Tracking authority, Directs taxation, fines and penalties for non-compliance


This legislation does the following:

Physician Recommendations

Directs the Medical Board of California to raise the priority and resource dedication to monitoring the physician recommendation process.

Sets restrictions, and penalties, for infraction of any doctor who:

  • negligently or frivolously provides recommendations
  • does not conduct a thorough physical in-person examination of a patient before recommending medical cannabis, holds a financial interest in an adjoining dispensary or service
  • advertises direct to consumer carelessly or offering incentive

Licensing Rules

Establishes rules for licensing requirements to include:

  • Both county and state licenses have to be approved before any growing begins, and both must be maintained in good standing at all times
  • Submit to Department of Justice fingerprint review for record of federal convictions at applicant’s cost
  • For dispensaries – must have valid current “Seller’s Permit”

Track and Trace Program

Establishes a unique identifier program through the BMMR

Charges the Department of Food and Agriculture to manage the record keeping of transport/movement of medical cannabis in the state of California.

Requires shipping manifest (including the unique identifiers of each plant, or plant product being moved) by Transporters for the movement of all medical cannabis throughout the state

Any shipment and the corresponding documentation is subject to inspection and verification by any licensing authority and state and local agencies


Enables any city, county, or city and county, to impose taxes on licensed cultivators, dispensers, manufacturers, transporters or distributors.

Counties and cities may NOT impose a special sales tax subverting the state sales tax collected on the seller’s permit.


Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

AB243, proposed by Wood, relating to medical marijuana regulation. Signed by Governor Brown.

Topic: Cultivation management, regulation and licensure


This legislation coordinates the efforts of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, Chief to pull together the following state agencies:

  • Department of Consumer Affairs
  • Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • State Department of Public Health
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • State Water Resources Control Board

In a coordinated fashion, the BMMR will develop regulations pertaining to cultivation practices and standards throughout the state. Only where lesser (city, county or city and county) jurisdictions make declarations of sovereignty by March 30, 2015 will the outcomes of state regulations not hold firm and defer to the lesser jurisdiction.

BMMR will develop regulations to address:

  • Water resource usage, management and measurement
  • Power utilization and permitting
  • Environmental Impact of cultivation practices
  • Standards for weight and measure application
  • Pesticide usage, management and testing

Further, this legislation formally classifies medical cannabis as an agricultural product, subject to all regulations which govern agricultural cultivation.

The law does acknowledge the ability of lesser jurisdictions to create a licensing schema to enact locally. In do so, it mandates that cultivators have both permits in good standing and establishes communication between jurisdictions to assure that cultivators are in compliance with both sets of regulations once established.

The legislation provides using the expertise of the above mentioned departments to create a ten tier licensing matrix for cannabis cultivation in the state of California:

For further breakdown of the MMRSA legislation:




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