- Posted by Laura Croft, Esq
- On February 14, 2017
- Alcohol and Cannabis Permitting Laws, AUMA, breaking, MCRSA, Prop 64, regulations
An interesting question keeps popping up here in the state of California: “Can I hold an alcoholic beverage license and a medical cannabis license?” This definitely screams dollar signs for a catch-all establishment. However, the answer is a firm, “No.” The California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation clarifies that an entity that “holds an alcoholic beverage retail license may not hold a medical cannabis license.” That also means that a Cannabis dispensary cannot sell alcohol (or tobacco products). Additional regulations now restrict any alcohol consumption where on-site Cannabis consumption is permitted.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64) is the November 2016 ballot initiative that set hundreds of new provisions and regulations relating to the adult use of Cannabis into state law. AUMA states:
- NO ALCOHOL OR TOBACCO LICENSES may be held by marijuana licensees (Business and Professions Code 26054(a)).
- IN-SITE CONSUMPTION: Local governments may permit on-site consumption [of Cannabis] at licensed retailers and microbusinesses provided: access is prohibited to persons under 21, consumption is not visible from any “public place” or non-age-restricted area, and sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco aren’t allowed (this effectively ends the current practice of allowing beer and wine at medical marijuana expos (26200(d)).
The AUMA’s regulatory provisions are largely patterned on the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). MCRSA AB 266 (Bonta/Cooley/Jones-Sawyer/Lackey) states:
- 19326. A licensee shall not also be licensed as a retailer of alcoholic beverages pursuant to Division 9 (commencing with Section 23000)
Bottom line: You cannot sell or buy alcohol and Cannabis from the same establishment and you will not be able to consume alcohol at a venue where on-site Cannabis consumption is permitted.
What does this mean for your favorite Cannabis-infused elixirs? While other states strictly prohibit alcohol and drug infusions; Prop. 64 does not address mixing Cannabis and alcohol.
Whether it is “Humboldt’s Finest,” a limited release premium small batch vodka that has been infused with legal U.S.-grown hemp; Mary Jane Wines, Cannabis-infused wine made with sterilized hemp seeds and Cannabidiol extract; or General Washington’s Secret Stash IPA, these Cannabis-infused concoctions commonly use “hemp” cannabinoids which refers to the non-psychoactive varieties of Cannabis sativa, meaning the plant contains less than 1% THC.
Particularly with wine, producers are not trying to get consumers “high with weed wine,” because fermentation temperatures do not usually exceed 90 degrees, and the cannabinoids in the marijuana are released but not much, if any, of the THC.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved cannabis-infused beverages, including Dude’s Brews, for distribution across the United States because it has nearly zero THC content. Although there is uncertainty over where cannabis-infused alcohol with a greater THC level will find a place for distribution, this move by the FDA is opening the door for other cannabis-infused delights, that have minimum THC content, for nation-wide distribution.
Please contact CannaBusinessLaw for expert assistance in compliance with cannabis licensing, permitting and the application process relating to commercial Cannabis in California.