Harris Bricken’s California cannabis practice began in 2012 to meet the needs of clients in the medicinal marijuana industry. Over the past several years, we have guided clients through rapidly changing legal and regulatory frameworks, assisting with the shift to or addition of recreational cannabis. Our California cannabis attorneys are consistently tuned into developments in California’s complex and fast-changing cannabis laws, quickly and effectively adapting our practices to meet the needs of the statewide cannabis market. With offices in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, we are well positioned to assist clients throughout the Golden State.
California became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana in 1996 through Proposition 215, otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act. After many years of complex legal changes California voters passed Proposition 64 in late 2016, legalizing the sale and distribution of cannabis for adult recreational use. This passage led to the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”), which organized the robust regulation of both medicinal and recreational cannabis into one body of law.
California’s cannabis legal system is unique in that many different government agencies regulate different parts of the cannabis industry. Harris Bricken’s California cannabis team is more than familiar with each of these agencies—the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”), which regulates retailers, distributors, testing labs, and event organizers; the Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (“CDPH”), which regulates manufacturers; the Department of Food and Agriculture (“CDFA”), which regulates cannabis cultivators; and other agencies that regulate various aspects of the cannabis industry, such as the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Adding further complexity to California cannabis law is the fact that, while MAUCRSA controls regulatory compliance at the state-level, it also empowers cities, counties, and other municipalities to regulate cannabis in their own (and often very different) ways. Feeling confused? Don’t worry, our California cannabis attorneys are on top of not only the regularly amended MAUCRSA, but also on the fast-changing county and city laws as well.
We have guided clients through competitive and standard permitting and licensing processes across the state, and also represent clients in mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property licensing, and general regulatory compliance. In addition to our California corporate and regulatory cannabis practice, our team has considerable experience in court and agency litigation and is armed and ready to represent you in any disputes that may arise for you and your business.
Aside from our client work, Harris Bricken’s California cannabis lawyers also speak and write regularly about cannabis matters and are frequently cited by the media. For more on California cannabis, please read the Canna Law Blog.