California Governor Signs Legislation to Establish Department of Cannabis Control
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California Governor Signs Legislation to Establish Department of Cannabis Control

The move consolidates three state agencies into one in an effort to streamline California's cannabis regulations.

July 14, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation July 12 to create the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), which will consolidate the state’s three cannabis regulatory agencies into one.

Assembly Bill 141 creates a standalone cannabis regulatory body, which was proposed in Newsom’s 2021-2022 state budget. The change is intended to “improve access to licensure, simplify regulatory oversight and support California businesses,” according to a press release announcing Newsom’s signing of the bill.

“California has led the nation in progressive cannabis policies, beginning 25 years ago as the first state in the nation to legalize medicinal use of cannabis,” Newsom said in a public statement. “We’ve taken another significant step forward to fulfill the opportunities of legalization and better serve all Californians. We will continue building upon our efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive industry, protect consumer and public safety, safeguard our environment and advance economic opportunity for small businesses.”

Newsom has appointed Nicole Elliot as director of the DCC, which is a consolidation of three cannabis regulatory programs within the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch.

“The state’s consolidation effort delivers on the commitment made by the Newsom Administration to listen to and work with California’s legal cannabis industry to streamline participation in the legal market by offering a central point of contact for licensed operators,” said Lourdes Castro Ramirez, agency secretary of the BCSH Agency, which houses the DCC. “One of the key missions of our agency is to build strong, equitable, and vibrant communities. This action takes bold steps in that direction.”

The California Cannabis Portal has been relaunched as the DCC website and will continue to be a centralized resource for cannabis information, and the prior websites for the previous three regulatory agencies will be accessible while the online content continues to transition to the new webpage.