Last November, when voters passed Proposition 64, pushing California into a short column of five states (California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska) that have legalized recreational marijuana use, some Golden State residents may have anticipated that “legal” pot shops would spring up almost immediately. That, of course, has not been the case, as California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act is actually quite complex. Recognizing that multiple layers of regulation would be required, the Legislature postponed the actual licensing process until January 2018.


While the 14-month window within which to iron out any kinks in the process may have seemed like an unusually long time frame, state regulators indicate that they will need virtually all that time to get ready.

Home Grown Marijuana is Legal During Waiting Period

While one cannot currently legally purchase recreational marijuana in California, one can use, possess, share, and even grow cannabis at home, as long as no money exchanges hands. It is still illegal to sell a marijuana plant, but it may be permissible to share a bud or a clone under certain circumstances.

Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation

California’s Department of Consumer Affairs is in the early stages of establishing the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation to oversee the regulation of the cannabis industry. Some regulatory framework was already in place following the passage, in 2015, of California’s medical cannabis laws. Government officials have stressed, however, that the regulations governing recreational marijuana will differ from those related to the use of medical products. Indeed, a number of different agencies will have some stake in the way marijuana is regulated. For example, CalCannabis – which regulates medical marijuana cultivation – is housed with the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture. The Office of Medical Cannabis Regulation is governed by the Department of Public Health. There is even a separate agency – the Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety – also housed within the Public Health Department, which has additional duties.

Interaction With Local and Federal Laws Still Uncertain

As medical and recreational marijuana both become legal in more and more states, regulators and citizens alike must also recognize that marijuana use is still prohibited under Federal law. Indeed, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions has expressed opposition both to recreational weed and the medical variety. California’s stance itself is somewhat inconsistent, since the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the California Environmental Protection Agency added marijuana smoke to list of known carcinogens on June 19, 2009. Some California legal experts indicate that there is also a maze of local ordinances that may come into play as businesses contemplate how and where they might open retail sales outlets for recreational pot. The next six months will be an important and complex period legally.

CKB VIENNA LLP – Experienced Commercial Law Attorneys and Advisors

Is your business prepared for California’s rollout of legalized recreational marijuana? Have you contemplated the barriers and hurdles that await those who seek to take commercial advantage of Prop 64? Are you concerned about the interaction between recreational and medical marijuana uses in California? These are just a few of the questions that call out for answers in the upcoming turbulent period before January 2018. Navigating the legal world can be difficult. Prudent business owners turn to experienced commercial attorneys like CKB VIENNA LLP for assistance. For years now, we have represented all sorts of businesses in many types of legal and regulatory environments. We have researched the technical requirements of Prop 64 and the myriad of other regulations that will have an impact on the sale of recreational marijuana in California. Our team understands the complexity of the issues and stands ready to represent you aggressively. We have offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. Contact us by telephone – 909.980.1040 – or complete our online form.