The Bureau of Cannabis Control has released the finalized regulations that apply to cannabis home delivery businesses. Beginning January 16, 2019, licensed cannabis delivery businesses have been permitted to deliver their products almost anywhere in California – including towns and counties that have banned the sale of recreational cannabis. While marijuana entrepreneurs and consumers welcome the new regulations, some cities have already sued the state over what they view as an unacceptable overreach of authority. The future of California cannabis delivery businesses may depend on the outcome of this legal battle.
Marijuana entrepreneurs have been waiting for these finalized regulations to ramp up their businesses. This is particularly true of cannabis delivery companies, who up until now have been unable to deliver outside of municipalities that permit adult use cannabis companies. At McElfresh Law, we are carefully following the lawsuits surrounding the state’s new cannabis regulations.
New Cannabis Regulations Give Free Reign to Delivery Services
The California Code of Regulations section 5416(d) provides that a non-storefront retailer may:
- Only deliver cannabis to a physical address in California
- At no time exit California while in possession of the product
- Not make a delivery to any public land or land leased by a public entity – including tribal lands, unless local tribal law explicitly allows for cannabis deliveries
These regulations are much more permissive than the temporary rules that were in place previously. This is exactly what cannabis entrepreneurs and consumer advocates were pushing for, since many of the state’s municipalities have either banned cannabis businesses, or failed to create local regulations that would permit their operation.
Unrestricted Cannabis Deliveries Face Backlash from Anti-Pot Municipalities
For anti-marijuana municipalities and some law enforcement agencies, there is no difference between black market cannabis sales or deliveries that come from businesses licensed in other parts of California. In both cases, the cannabis is being sold in violation of local law. Thus, the new marijuana regulations are viewed as an unprecedented intrusion into the authority of California’s local governments.
The League of California Cities has described the new regulations as “extremely troubling.” During the public hearing process for the regulations, the league joined the California Police Chiefs Association and the United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council in creating a campaign called “Stop Wandering Weed.” Their campaign failed, but they are likely to support any lawsuits that aim to take down the regulations.
The first municipality to sue the Bureau of Cannabis Control is the City of Sonora, whose council voted unanimously in favor of the lawsuit. Sonora mayor Jim Garaventa told the local newspaper, “it won’t just be us.” The legal basis for this type of lawsuit may be a provision in Proposition 64 which guarantees that cities and counties will have local control over marijuana commerce. The new regulations can be interpreted as bypassing this guarantee.
Do You Have Questions About Cannabis Home Delivery? Call a Lawyer for Help
The future of the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s new regulations is uncertain. Some marijuana delivery businesses may ramp up their operations regardless, and hope for a positive outcome to a legal battle that could take years to resolve. If the court hearing Sonora’s lawsuit issues an injunction on deliveries, however, the cannabis delivery business model may be at serious and immediate risk. Call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107, or reach out online to learn more about how the new lawsuit could affect your cannabis business.