Rulemaking

Rulemaking

Regulations are state laws with specific rules for how businesses and others must operate.  The Department of Cannabis Control’s (DCC) regulations are in California Code of Regulations, title 4, division 19.

DCC is taking steps to simplify the cannabis regulations.  

Current regulations

Read the current DCC regulations:

DCC has taken two regulatory actions to combine the previous cannabis regulations. View the recently-approved changes made to the regulations.

Pending rulemaking actions

AB 1525 Certificate of Compliance

DCC is proposing to adopt regulations to implement Assembly Bill 1525. The regulations allow licensees to authorize us to share information with financial institutions.

These regulations are currently active as emergency regulations. This action would adopt them more permanently through the regular rulemaking process.

View the rulemaking documents:

How to submit a public comment

You can submit a comment on the proposed regulations until January 4, 2022, at 5pm. Submit comments to DCC by mail or email:

Completed rulemaking actions

Equity Fee Waiver Emergency Regulations

DCC adopted emergency regulations to provide licensing fee waivers to qualified equity businesses statewide. The waivers are designed to assist individuals harmed by the War on Drugs with starting and operating a cannabis business. The regulations implement the fee waiver provisions of Senate Bill 166.

This statewide program provides financial support to cannabis business by waiving licensing fees if applicants and licensees meet the equity eligibility criteria, such as past cannabis convictions or arrests, reduced income or residence in an area disproportionately impacted by past criminal justice policies, as well as other criteria.

View the rulemaking documents:

The emergency regulations add specificity to eligibility criteria established through SB 166 and establish a process for equity applicants and licensees to request waivers for licensing fees.

Learn more about California’s equity initiatives.

Rulemaking Timeline

  • December 3, 2021 – DCC released notice of the proposed rulemaking to the public.
  • December 10, 2021 – DCC filed the emergency package with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
  • December 10-15, 2021 – DCC accept public comments on the proposed regulations.
  • December 20, 2021 – The regulations were approved by OAL and filed with the Secretary of State.

Quick Response (QR) Code – Approved November 15, 2021

QR code certificates help the public check if a cannabis business is licensed. This helps people distinguish licensed cannabis businesses from unlicensed ones. Retailers and distributors must display the certificate. Employees transporting or delivering cannabis goods must also carry the QR code certificate.

DCC submitted the final proposed rulemaking package to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on October 5, 2021. The submission included a final statement of reasons with responses to public comments. The regulations were approved by OAL and filed with the Secretary of State on November 15, 2021.

View the rulemaking documents:

Application process requirements – Decision not to proceed

DCC will not proceed with the rulemaking to change application process requirements. The Bureau of Cannabis Control began this rulemaking in fall 2020.

Notice of decision not to proceed

The rulemaking appeared in the California Regulatory Notice Register on October 16, 2020. The OAL Notice file number is Z-2020-1006-06.

Emergency rulemaking for consolidation of the cannabis regulations

DCC conducted an emergency rulemaking action. This rulemaking combined the three sets of cannabis regulations into one. It consolidates, clarifies and makes consistent licensing and enforcement requirements for cannabis businesses.

Approved Regulations (September 27, 2021)

Proposed regulations and supporting documents (September 8, 2021)

Rulemaking timeline

DCC gave notice of the proposed adoption of the emergency regulations on September 8, 2021. DCC filed the emergency rules with the OAL on September 15, 2021. OAL approved the regulations on September 27, 2021.

Information sharing with financial institutions

The three cannabis programs adopted emergency regulations to implement Assembly Bill 1525 in February 2021. The regulations allow licensees to authorize us to share information with financial institutions.

View the rulemaking documents:

The emergency regulations were adopted in February 2021.

DCC began a rulemaking process to readopt the regulations on July 16, 2021. OAL approved the readoption of emergency regulations on August 2, 2021. They were filed with the Secretary of State and became effective on the same day.

Section 100 to move cannabis regulations

The three existing sets of regulations were moved into one title in the California Code of Regulations. The cannabis regulations are now together in Title 4, Division 19. Sections were also renumbered. No changes were made to the requirements in regulation.

This change used a rulemaking action called a Section 100. Section 100 lets agencies make changes to regulations that have no regulatory effect.

OAL approved the rulemaking actions and filed them with the Secretary of State on July 14, 2021.

View the changes to the cannabis regulations:

Read the Statements of Explanation, which explain why these changes were made:

Regulations issued by the former cannabis programs

Email regulations@cannabis.ca.gov for copies of previous rulemaking files. You can also view them online:

How regulations are made

Regulations are made through a process called rulemaking. It gives the public the opportunity to take part in the creation of regulations proposed by California state agencies.

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) oversees the rulemaking process. OAL makes sure that state agencies follow California’s laws when they adopt new regulations.

There are two types of rulemaking procedures: regular and emergency.

Most regulations are adopted using the regular rulemaking process. Some are adopted using the emergency rulemaking process, which allows rules to go into effect faster. The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) can use the emergency rulemaking process when making rules for cannabis businesses.

Regular rulemaking process

  1. An agency publishes a summary of the proposed regulations in the California Regulatory Notice Register (also called Notice Register). The summary explains what the regulation does, why it is being created and its possible impact.
  2. The public has 45 days to comment on the proposed regulations.
  3. The agency publishes a summary of the public comments and the responses in the Notice Register.
  4. If the agency changes the regulation based on the comments, the public has another 15 days to comment.
  5. Once the agency is satisfied with the regulations, it publishes an updated summary to the Notice Register.
  6. The agency has up to one year from the first notice to complete the regulations.

Emergency rulemaking process

Emergency regulations are rules that can be put in place immediately while the agency completes the full rulemaking process. The emergency rulemaking process has different requirements, but generally includes:

  • A brief public notice period
  • A five-day public comment period

Before the formation of DCC, the cannabis industry was regulated by:

  • The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) – cultivators
  • The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) – manufacturers
  • The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) – all other license types