While the Bureau of Marijuana Control (BMC), formerly the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, is known for its regulatory and licensing power over California’s medical marijuana industry, it is not the only state department involved in marijuana regulation. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), plays a crucial part. The cultivation of marijuana is within the CDFA’s jurisdiction. The department is responsible for regulating cultivation, licensing cultivators, and implementing a track-and-trace system for marijuana plants and products.

If you are currently a marijuana grower or are interested in becoming part of the cultivation process, contact a medical marijuana attorney from McElfresh Law right away.

Attorney Jessica McElfresh has years of experience representing clients who are part of California’s cannabis industry, including growers, processors, distributors, transporters, dispensaries, and patients. She can help you get your new venture off the ground, represent you in any criminal or administrative proceedings, and comply with local and state laws. Call (858) 756-7107 today.

Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.

CDFA Responsible for Licensing Medical Marijuana Cultivators

If you grow medical marijuana for more than just yourself or as a caregiver for more than five patients, then you will need a cultivation license from the CDFA. The department is currently issuing licenses.

There are 10 different types of licenses for the cultivation of medical marijuana based on the scale of your operation, light source, and production stage. If you are a cultivator, you will need to determine which license is relevant to your business. The cultivation license options are:

  • Type 1 – Specialty Outdoor
  • Type 1A – Specialty Indoor
  • Type 1B – Specialty Mixed-Light
  • Type 2 – Outdoor; Small
  • Type 2A – Indoor; Small
  • Type 2B – Mixed-Light; Small
  • Type 3 – Outdoor; Medium
  • Type 3A – Indoor; Medium
  • Type 3B – Mixed-Light; Medium
  • Type 4 – Nursery

Cultivation Licensing Begins in 2018

The proposed regulations for medical cannabis cultivation lays out the application process, including the information and documentation you must provide. The elements of the application include but are not limited to:

  • The applicant’s basic information
  • A designated primary contact
  • Proof of property owner approval
  • Date operation began
  • Proof of good standing, including copies of license and permits
  • The physical address and description of the premises
  • Owner’s criminal history
  • Applicant’s financial interest in any other marijuana license

If you currently run a business that was in operation and in good standing with local regulations since Jan. 1, 2016, then your cultivator license application will have priority. However, if your operation is newer or you are interested in beginning a cultivation business, you can also prepare for the licensing process. The sooner you are compliant with local laws and ready to apply to the CDFA, the sooner you may obtain your state license.

CDFA Is Responsible for Marijuana Cultivation Regulations

As a cannabis cultivator, the CDFA regulations will greatly impact your business, rights, and duties. At a basic level, the CDFA formalizes definitions, such as what constitutes cultivation, indoor versus outdoor cultivation, canopy, flowering, dried flower, immature and mature plants, strains, and more. You may understand all of these terms in regard to industry standards. However, these definitions may greatly affect the license you obtain and the rules you follow.

At a higher level, the CDFA regulations may restrict how you can operate your business. For instance, the proposed regulations restrict you from making physical modifications to your business’s premises without prior approval from the department, particularly electrical work. You must submit a description of your premises with your license application. If at any point you want to change the premises such as add another building or expand, you will have to go through a formal approval process.

The CDFA proposed regulations will also control:

  • Cultivation standards
  • Multi-tenant cultivation
  • Licensee’s commingling of marijuana
  • Cleanliness standards
  • Waste management
  • Packaging
  • Labelling
  • Environmental protection
  • Record retention
  • The track-and-trace system
  • Inspections
  • Investigations
  • Audits

Administrative Consequences of Non-Compliance

You face serious administrative consequences if you have a cultivation business and do not comply with all local and state licensing requirements. The CDFA has the power to inspect and audit your premises and inventory and investigate allegations of non-compliance. Through these methods, the CDFA will designate a violation of the marijuana regulations as:

  • Minor Violation – The violation is unlikely to have an adverse effect on the environment or public safety.
  • Moderate Violation – The violation will probably cause a harm to the environment or public or is a subsequent minor violation within two years of the first.
  • Serious Violation – The violation has the potential for significant environmental or public harm, causes significant false, misleading or deceptive business practices, or significant interferes or precludes enforcement of marijuana regulations. It may also be a subsequent moderation violation within two years of the first violation.

The penalty will be based on which regulation as violated and the level of the violation. However, you will have the opportunity to defend yourself. The CDFA will issue notice of a violation, including information on the pertinent regulations. You will have 10 calendar days to respond and then 30 days to request an informal hearing.

A San Diego Medical Marijuana Lawyer Can Help

There are many questions regarding medical and recreational marijuana cultivation right now. While growing medical marijuana in California has been legal for a number of years, the state is still working on developing a comprehensive infrastructure for the production and sale of cannabis and related products. The CDFA is a critical department in the development of marijuana regulations and licensing.

If you currently have a business involved with medical marijuana cultivation, Attorney Jessica McElfresh of McElfresh Law can help you ensure you are compliant with all local regulations and prepare for applying for a state cultivation license. She can also represent you in any administrative or criminal proceedings against you or your business.

If you are interested in getting started within medical marijuana cultivation, we can set you up for success. Starting your business off compliant with all local laws will enable you to get a state license as soon as possible and avoid legal and administrative repercussions.

For more information on how a knowledgeable and skilled San Diego medical marijuana attorney can help you, call McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 and schedule a consultation.

This website is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.

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