The newly formed Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) held the first round of pre-regulatory meetings over the last few weeks. There were eight meetings statewide (with the same format) to allow the bureau to engage the existing medical cannabis industry, to find out about current practices, to hear feedback about existing issues, as well as listen to any new ones.

We participated in the Los Angeles meeting held at Loyola Marymount University on 10.4.16 with nearly 200 industry stakeholders, including  dispensary owners, manufacturers, extractors,distributors, transporters and testing labs, over the course of 6 hours.

The day started with a general discussion on topics that affect each of the different license types, such as ownership and financial interests, background checks, priority licensing and local approval. In order to get feedback from everyone, we were asked to form groups of 4-6 people and discuss the questions among ourselves, then a single person from the group would present the comments or concerns of the group, which were written on giant sheets of paper and plastered over the walls (to be picked up and studied by Bureau later). It was very refreshing seeing members of the bureau engage the public, and eager to get feedback from everyone in the room, rather than simply let us know what decisions they made.

In the second part of the day, the room was split into smaller breakout sessions covering different license types. The Manufacturers session discussed extraction methods, practices to minimize accidental exposure or consumption of products, variables to consider for manufacturing licensing fee tiers, as well and practices for quality and safety of products. The Testing labs session discussed current practices and safety efforts, the different type of tests and materials to test for before sale, license fee tiers and current standard to ensure statistically valid samples. The Dispensaries session covered subtypes of dispensary licenses, employee and deliver requirements, as well as transaction limits for patients. The Distributors session covered product quality assurance, procedure for product disposal which do not meet the testing requirements, labeling, and sample collection. The Transporters session covered shipping requirements, transportation thresholds and vehicle requirement.

It seems the new Bureau is taking their job very seriously, and is gathering information from other states, and learning from their experience, as well as from the current industry, with the goal of crafting the most sensible and comprehensive regulation system for California.

We look forward to the next meeting the bureau will hold, and want to remind everyone in the industry, if you’re not at the table, you are on the menu.

For more information about the BMCR and to join their mailing list visit bmcr.ca.gov