A new set of proposed rules to regulate California's medical marijuana market offers opportunities to both big and small businesses and investors, industry insiders say. Last week, state regulators released a set of draft regulations governing the sales, use, cultivation, testing, and distribution of medical cannabis. The draft rules would also require dispensaries to use a track-and-trace system, and would limit edibles to 10mg of THC per serving, and 100mg per package.
The draft regulations create a framework that would allow a wider range of entrepreneurs to enter the market, with a new tiered licensing system that bases fees on the size of the company. Fees for cultivation licenses, for example, can range from $560 a year for a small nursery to $38.350 for a medium indoor grow-op. “It gives a lot of opportunity to the smaller operators to be able to secure their state licenses,” said Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of cannabis consultancy firm Siva Enterprises.
State officials are holding a 45-day comment period which will include four public hearings to discuss the new regulations. Following the comment period, the drafting phase will be extended by another 15 to 45 days in order to include any suggested changes. The rules for both the medical and recreational marijuana markets will come into effect on January 1st of next year. Medical marijuana businesses will be given a grace period to comply with these new regulations, and any company that has not fully complied with the new rules by Dec. 31st, 2018 will be considered an illegal operator.
The regulations “provide well-needed clarity in terms of state regulations for companies and investors,” said Lance Rogers, cannabis attorney with Greenspoon Marder. “I’m hopeful that we can go from being the Wild West of cannabis to being the gold standard for the industry. Pioneers came to California for gold, hopefully we can be, if not the ‘gold,’ then the ‘green’ standard for the industry.”