More than two decades after California first legalized marijuana for medical use with Proposition 215, the Golden State has passed new laws and regulations to govern the medicinal and adult-use cannabis markets. These laws are far-reaching, and will impact every aspect of how cannabis operators conduct business.

The law establishes three state agencies as the main licensing and regulatory authorities for cannabis business: the Bureau of Cannabis Control within the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch within the Department of Public Health, and the CalCannabis Licensing Branch within the Department of Food and Agriculture.

State licenses will be issued for cannabis activities including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, laboratory testing, retail, and more. Moreover, a state-issued licenses will be required to operate a commercial cannabis business after January 1, 2018, however only businesses with local authorization are eligible.

Below are California’s current state laws and regulations for cannabis.


Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA)

Cannabis Tax (Revenue and Taxation Code §§ 34010 – 34021.5)


Bureau of Cannabis Control (Distribution, Testing, Retail, Microbusinesses)

BCC Emergency Cannabis Regulations

BCC Disciplinary Guidelines (2017)

Department of Public Health (Manufacturing, Packaging & Labeling)

CDPH Emergency Cannabis Regulations

Department of Food and Agriculture (Cultivation, Nurseries)

CDFA Emergency Cannabis Regulations


California Cannabis Portal