- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On November 2, 2016
- breaking, California, cannabis law, Cannabis Permit, licensing, MCRSA, medical cannabis manufacturing, regulatons
Commonly known as hash oil, shatter, wax, honey oil, or dabs–cannabis concentrates are considerably more potent than standard cannabis bud, and have shown to be effective in treating medically-ill patients. However, because cannabis concentrates are often made through complex (and potentially dangerous) extraction methods involving solvents such as butane or carbon dioxide, those who manufacture the concentrates have been faced with certain risks, including criminal prosecution. California Health & Safety Code section 11379.6 makes it a felony to manufacture cannabis concentrates through a chemical extraction method. Until recently, the state’s regulations provided little guidance to manufacturers seeking to comply with the law.
Although the Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act (“MCRSA”), comprised of AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643, made significant strides in regulating the medical cannabis industry, the legislation failed to resolve several key areas of the law relating to medical cannabis manufacturing. Specifically, the MCRSA exempts cannabis manufacturers who have obtained both a state and local license from criminal prosecution. However, because the state will not begin issuing licenses until 2018, manufacturing facilities that have received local approval, but have not yet been issued a state permit, risk criminal liability during the period before the MCRSA is fully implemented.
After decades of operating in a legal grey area, California’s medical cannabis manufacturers were finally given some clarity with the enactment of Assembly Bill 2679. The law, which was approved by Governor Jerry Brown on September 29, 2016, provides protections for manufacturers from criminal prosecution as well as guidance to local governments regarding the type of manufacturing of medical cannabis that is permitted.
AB 2679 was co-authored by the same group of legislators who authored MCRSA: Assembly Members Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Jim Wood (D-Headldsburg).
The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2017, sets forth a slew of health and safety requirements that collectives, and cooperatives that manufacture medical cannabis products, must follow in order to be shielded from state criminal prosecution.
Under AB 2679, the collective or cooperative must comply with either or both of the following:
- Utilize only manufacturing processes that are either solventless or that employ only nonflammable, nontoxic solvents that are generally recognized as safe pursuant to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 301 et seq.).
- Utilize only manufacturing processes that use solvents exclusively within a closed-loop system, which has been certified by a licensed engineer, and is designed to eliminate off-gassing of explosive solvents. The solvents used must be generally recognized as safe pursuant to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 301 et seq.).
In addition, the collective or cooperative must maintain approval from the local fire official for the closed-loop system, other equipment, the extraction operation, and the facility; and must meet all required fire, safety, and building code requirements of the federal government and the state. Manufacturers are also required to obtain a valid California marijuana sellers permit from the Board of Equalization. Finally, the collective or cooperative must obtain the applicable local permits and comply with all local medical cannabis regulations.
Contact Cannabusiness Law for more information on how to get your medical cannabis manufacturing operation in compliance with the MCRSA and AB 2679.