Department of Cannabis Control highlights potential for drought-related regulatory relief

Announcements

Department of Cannabis Control highlights potential for drought-related regulatory relief

CALIFORNIA – As California prepares for another summer of historic drought, the Department of Cannabis Control encourages cannabis licensees affected by the ongoing statewide drought emergency—including cultivators seeking to conserve water—to request disaster relief.

Under DCC’s disaster-relief authority, licensees may request temporary relief from certain DCC regulations. Licensees seeking disaster relief are encouraged to submit a Request for Disaster Relief (Form DCC-8101) to DisasterRelief@cannabis.ca.gov. Disaster relief may be offered to licensees who are unable to comply with DCC licensing requirements due to a disaster, such as the ongoing statewide drought emergency. Licensees should be prepared to identify the specific DCC regulations from which they are requesting relief and to explain why the relief is needed in light of the relevant disaster, such as the drought.

Requests for disaster relief are considered on a case-by-case basis. Prior disaster relief has allowed for measures like:

  • Curbside pickup at retailers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Evacuation of cannabis and cannabis products in response to major wildfires.

By the end of April 2022, more than 95% of California was experiencing “severe” or “exceptional” drought. State and local agencies across California are already working to promote water conservation—including, for example, through programs in certain local jurisdictions in which cultivators may conserve water by fallowing their crops. If relief from DCC licensing requirements would make it economically feasible to participate in local fallowing programs, or would otherwise support California’s water conservation efforts, DCC encourages licensees to request disaster relief.

DCC may require that licensees obey certain conditions to receive temporary disaster relief. DCC has no authority to offer relief from requirements that are administered by other agencies or imposed by statute, such as the cannabis cultivation tax and cannabis excise tax.

The DCC licenses and regulates commercial cannabis activity within California and works closely with all stakeholders, including businesses and local jurisdictions to create a sustainable legal cannabis industry and a safe and equitable marketplace. The DCC develops and implements progressive cannabis policies with robust protections for public health, safety, and the environment. The DCC was formed by merging the three state programs previously responsible for regulating commercial cannabis activity.

Additional information on DCC disaster relief is available at https://cannabis.ca.gov/resources/disaster-relief-programs/.