Through innovative policies and effective implementation, the Department (DCC) advances and facilitates a well-regulated, legal market that benefits all Californians.
California has a safe, sustainable and equitable cannabis market that serves as an example for the world.
Our values: Integrity, Fairness, Innovation, Knowledge, Collaboration, Support
What we do
The Department licenses and regulates cannabis businesses. We regulate the:
- Growing of cannabis plants
- Manufacture of cannabis products
- Transportation and tracking of cannabis goods throughout the state
- Sale of cannabis goods
- Events where cannabis is sold or used
- Labeling of goods sold at retail
Download our fact sheet to learn more about what we do.
DCC’s Strategic Plan
Read more about DCC’s first ever strategic plan, focusing on four priorities that will support the department over the next three years as it continues to foster a well-regulated cannabis market in California.
Cannabis Advisory Committee
The Cannabis Advisory Committee makes recommendations to DCC about regulations and licensing.
The Department has several divisions that help cannabis operators get licensed, stay in compliance, and learn about new regulations. Learn more about each division’s responsibilities.
Administration is responsible for providing core services essential to the day-to-day operations of the Department. The division is responsible for directing the administrative functions of the Department and providing employee services, including but not limited to human resources, budgets, fiscal management, contracts, procurement, and facilities and fleet management. The division serves as the Department’s primary liaison with California control agencies such as the Department of Finance, State Controller’s Office, Department of General Services, and Fi$cal.
Compliance is responsible for supporting and enforcing regulatory compliance of licensed commercial cannabis activity to promote accountability and consumer and public safety. The division is responsible for conducting routine inspections, investigating alleged and observed violations, addressing public complaints, and supporting licensees in achieving compliance. In collaboration with the Laboratory Division, the Compliance also oversees the remediation and destruction of cannabis and cannabis products that fail testing, as well as consumer recalls. The division is responsible for the administration of the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace system and works closely with the Department’s Law Enforcement Division and other state and local regulatory and enforcement entities on cases that could result in administrative or civil penalties.
Law Enforcement is responsible for conducting and supporting criminal investigations of illegal commercial cannabis activity in California to protect consumers and support the legitimacy of the legal market and preservation of California resources. The division partners with local, state, and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies in combating unlicensed activity across the supply chain by leveraging all available resources and intelligence.
Equity and Inclusion
Equity and Inclusion is responsible for leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Department’s equity programs, policies, outreach efforts and administration. The division works closely with local jurisdictions, local equity programs, state agencies, business owners and other stakeholders to develop, identify and promote promising practices and policies that improve outcomes for California cannabis entrepreneurs and employees negatively impacted by cannabis criminalization.
Government Affairs is responsible for advancing the Department’s mission and strategic priorities through legislative engagement at the state, local, and federal level. The division serves as the primary liaison for the Department with local, state, and federal legislative stakeholders and tracks and oversees the analysis of all relevant bills that may impact the Department. The division engages with stakeholders to better understand statutory policy initiatives, and, where appropriate, provides technical assistance that furthers the Department’s goals and priorities.
Information Technology Services
Information Technology (IT) Services is responsible for implementing the Department’s IT policies and delivering centralized IT solutions and services. The division provides coordination of technology operational activities, including desktop support; information security; telecom; network/server maintenance; project management; and application development and maintenance. The division works closely with all the Department’s divisions in developing technology solutions that streamline their work, provide the public with digital information, and allow the Department to meet its objectives while operating more efficiently and effectively.
Laboratory Services is responsible for regulatory oversight of California licensed cannabis testing laboratories. This includes the review of license applications, conducting routine inspections, investigating complaints, taking enforcement actions, and conducting investigative sample analysis. The Laboratory Services Division also works closely with other divisions in the review and evaluation of data and scientific literature to enhance the regulatory framework and identify best practices for product testing and consumer safety. Lastly, the division directs and monitors the contract California’s cannabis reference laboratory.
Legal Affairs is responsible for providing legal services to all the Department’s divisions and executive office. This includes conducting research in complex and emerging areas of law and advising programs, drafting and reviewing legal documents and responses, responding to Public Records Act Requests, drafting regulations, representing Department programs in administrative actions and appeals and liaising with the Attorney General’s office about Department litigation.
Licensing is responsible for administering application review, license issuance, renewal, and modifications; providing technical assistance and support to applicants and licensees; coordinating license actions with the Compliance and Enforcement Divisions; and providing enhanced assistance to equity applicants and licensees. The division works in close coordination and collaboration with other state and local agencies responsible for the permitting or licensing of cannabis businesses.
Policy & Research
Policy & Research is responsible for assessing the effectiveness of current state policies related to commercial cannabis, identifying opportunities to enhance and reform state regulatory requirements and developing recommendations for new regulatory policies. The division generates and solicits policy recommendations, including from Department staff, the Cannabis Advisory Committee, and other external stakeholders, that support the Department’s legislative, regulatory, and strategic goals. The division also monitors federal, state, and local policy developments, monitors and conducts research, and performs data analysis to help inform policy decisions.
Public Affairs is responsible for developing and supporting the Department’s internal and external communications, community engagement, and stakeholder relations. This includes, but is not limited to media strategy, public engagement and outreach efforts, customer service, Cannabis Advisory Committee meetings, event participation and the dissemination of educational resources. The division oversees and manages the Department’s website and social media channels, as well as its digital outreach to licensees and stakeholders.
DCC leadership team
The director and chief deputy director lead DCC and oversee its 10 deputy directors. Each deputy director is responsible for a different area of DCC’s work.
The leadership team includes:
Nicole Elliott, Director
Rasha Salama, Chief Deputy Director
Matthew Lee, General Counsel
Michael Cheng, Deputy Director of Licensing
Melissa Eidson, Deputy Director of Administration
Jacqueline Campion, Deputy Director of Policy and Research
Jeff Merriman, Deputy Director of Compliance
Bill Jones, Deputy Director of Enforcement
Eugene Hillsman, Deputy Director of Equity & Inclusion
Angela Hill, Deputy Director of Governmental Affairs
Tamara Colson, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs
Maria Luisa Cesar, Deputy Director of Public Affairs
Sean O’Connor, Chief Information Officer
Tanisha Bogans, Deputy Director of Laboratory Services
Po-Wen Leung, Manager, Equal Employment Opportunity Office