The Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act, or MCRSA, as it is more commonly known, was enacted in 2015. It was comprised of three bills, AB 266, AB 243, and SB 643.
Basically, these bills were drawn up and passed in order to establish a clear and concise licensing system for commercial cultivation, manufacture, distribution, transport, testing, and retail sales of cannabis.
One year later, on November 8, 2016, a majority of voters in the state of California voted for Proposition 64, otherwise known as the AUMA, or Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The AUMA is a similar to MCRSA with several variations from medical rules legalizing and regulating the recreational use of cannabis.
Now that both acts have been voted into law by the legislature and the people, it is vital to understand some of the differences between the two.
In terms of licensing, the MCRSA created seventeen types of licenses relating to cultivation, manufacturing, testing, dispensary, distribution, and transportation.
The AUMA, on the other hand, created nineteen, changing the categories to cultivation, manufacturing, testing, retailers, distribution, and microbusiness.
Essentially, transportation licenses have been eliminated as they were, and retail is going to be regulated in a totally different way, allowing for the opportunity for a more growth oriented market.
“Microbusiness” (Type 12) is a new category which includes small farms that do not exceed 10,000 square feet and it contrasts with the Type 5 cultivation license also now being offered which recognizes cultivation sites that are more that a half acre indoor or one acre outdoor. The Type 5 cultivation license will not be offered until January 1, 2023 and prohibits vertical integration of any kind.
This is important because it allows for all sizes of growing operations to operate explicitly as a for profit entity.
Both the AUMA and the MCRSA stress the importance of local control at the town and county level. There is such a vast difference of opinion from county to county across the state of California. Some growers have been operating for a number of years within smaller and more locally based communities. Finally, the government is recognizing the value of local cooperation.</>
It’s important to remember that Proposition 64 and MCRSA licensing is not scheduled to take effect until January 1, 2018. At least that is what the governor’s office and the state legislature says. It remains to be seen if that date will hold, or if we will see, like we have seen in a few other states, namely Massachusetts, whose lawmakers effectively filed a motion to delay everything having to do with retail sales for six months.