For nearly two decades, the cultivation of cannabis plants for medical use has been legal in California. Medical marijuana can be used to treat a variety of health issues, such as arthritis, anorexia, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, migraines, seizures, nausea, and other debilitating conditions.
If you are interested in being one of the medical marijuana cultivators in the state, you will need to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements, types of licenses available, and how you can obtain a grow license. California medical marijuana lawyer Jessica McElfresh can answer your legal questions regarding marijuana cultivation.
Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.
Legal Requirements for Medical Marijuana Cultivators
In September 2015, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act was passed in California to establish the state’s regulatory system for medical marijuana businesses. The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act consists of laws that govern the cultivating, transporting, and distributing of medical cannabis plants to patients who qualify for them.
Three bills – Assembly Bill 266, Assembly Bill 243, and Senate Bill 643 – make up the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.
- Assembly Bill 266 establishes the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation under California’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The new Bureau will establish an internet system to track licenses and the movement of commercial cannabis.
- Assembly Bill 243 and Senate Bill 643 focus specifically on regulating the cultivation of marijuana and permit the California Department of Food and Agriculture to issue and oversee the licenses of all medical marijuana cultivators. They give the California Department of Pesticide Regulation the duty of dealing with the use of pesticides and safety as they relate to medical cannabis plants. They also task the California Department of Food and Agriculture to collaborate with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure that the effects of discharge and water diversion correlated to cultivation do not affect the instream flows that are necessary for migration, rearing, and fish spawning. Additionally, the bills force the California State Department of Public Health to develop standards for the production and labeling of edible cannabis plants. If the cultivation area does not exceed 100 square feet and the qualifying patient refrains from selling, distributing, donating, or providing marijuana to others, these bills do not apply.
Types of Licenses
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act states that there are 17 different types of medical marijuana operational licenses – 10 for cultivation, 2 for manufacturing, 2 for dispensaries, 1 for testing, 1 for distribution, and 1 for transportation. The 10 types of cultivation licenses are based on scale, light source, and production stage:
- 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
Obtaining a Cultivation License
Obtaining a cultivation license will require growers to submit an application and fee, which is to be determined. A grow license can be granted to manufacturers, indoor and outdoor cultivators with up to one acre in size at a given site, distributors, testers, transporters, and dispensaries.
If your facility is already in operation and in compliance with the law, you may continue to operate until your application for a cultivator license is approved or denied. Facilities that have been in operation since before January 1, 2016, will have priority for cultivator licenses.
A California medical marijuana lawyer can help you determine whether or not you are compliant and may be able to obtain a grow license in the future.
Criminal Cultivation of Medical Marijuana Charges
If you do not have the appropriate authorization to cultivate marijuana, you can still be charged with a criminal marijuana cultivation offense and if convicted, you may face some very serious consequences. It’s a scary proposition to be potentially charged with a drug offense; however, an experienced San Diego medical marijuana lawyer can help show a prosecutor, judge, or jury that you are a qualified individual, patient or caregiver, and fight to get your charge resolved in your favor.
Contact McElfresh Law for More Information on Medical Marijuana Cultivation
California marijuana laws can be incredibly complicated. If you are interested in cannabis plants for medical purposes and securing a grow license in the future, a knowledgeable California medical marijuana lawyer can help.
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.