Bureau of Cannabis Control Insight for Cali Cannabusiness Operators

May 4, 2021 Cannabis Business, Entrepreneurs

For anyone running a cannabis business in California, the Bureau of Cannabis Control is where you’ll get your license. From medical to recreational cannabis product manufacturing companies to operating businesses in this space, this page aims to reveal what to expect from this department.

Whether you’re just breaking into this space or have been at it for a while, this blog post will answer many of the questions you may have about this California regulatory body and how it impacts your business.

Need help navigating the BCC? Get expert assistance to structure and scale your cannacompany now.

What is the California Bureau of Cannabis Control?

What is the California Bureau of Cannabis Control?

The Bureau of Cannabis Control is a California state agency that oversees the licensing and regulation of marijuana within the State. State law gives the Bureau of Cannabis Control broad authority to regulate every aspect of commercial marijuana activity in California, from seed to sale.

For anyone operating a medical or adult-use cannabusiness, this California bureau is the regulating department for state law. Retailers, distributors, testing laboratories, microbusinesses, and temporary marijuana events must go through the Bureau of Cannabis Control to obtain appropriate licensing.

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control has come a long way since voters approved Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Since then, this department has taken a formerly black and gray market to create one that’s legitimate with regulations in place.

Significant Bureau of Cannabis Control Cannabis Updates

Significant Bureau of Cannabis Control Cannabis Updates

After the Compassionate Use Act legalized medicinal marijuana in Cali, most of the regulation was through local governments. However, since then, we’ve seen this department implement many a measure to regulate the industry, including:

  • 2015 – California established a comprehensive state regulatory framework for licensing and enforcing cultivation, retail sale, transportation, manufacturing, delivery, testing, and storage of medicinal marijuana. This involved enacting AB 243 (Wood, Chapter 688), AB 266 (Bonta, Chapter 689), and SB 643 (McGuire, Chapter 719). This regulatory scheme is called the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), creating the three marijuana licensing authorities in California.
  • November 2016 – In November of 2016, Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), was passed. This legislature made it legal for adults 21 years and older to grow, possess, and use marijuana recreationally, with specified limitations. Furthermore, AUMA legalized selling and distributing marijuana as a regulated business, which began on January 1, 2018.
  • June 2017 – Cali passed Senate Bill 94, which integrates MCRSA with AUMA to forge a single regulatory system that’s responsible for governing the medical and recreational marijuana sector in California. This is the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).
  • December 2017 – Emergency cannabis regulations adopted by the BCC offer clarity and specify licensing and enforcement criteria for commercial cannabusinesses through the MAUCRSA. These laws remained in place as the Bureau decided on rules to develop its non-emergency regulations.
  • January 2018 – The BCC issued temporary licenses to retailers, testing laboratories,  distributors, event organizers, and microbusinesses that allowed them to continue operating with a short-term license. This led to over 10,000 cannabusiness operators in possession of state licenses, which created the largest market in the U.S.
  • January 2019 – State laws for the entire marijuana supply chain were approved by the Office of Administrative Law. These laws took effect upon approval, which voided the emergency regulations established in 2017.

How does the Bureau of Cannabis Control regulate cannabis businesses?

How does the Bureau of Cannabis Control regulate cannabis businesses?

The California Bureau of Cannabis regulates all cannabusinesses in the space. This includes all Bureau licensees, such as distributors, retailers, microbusinesses, cannabis events, testing laboratories, and more.

This California department ensures cannacompanies comply with all state rules. But the agency is also responsible for implementing disciplinary actions, as needed.

What are some common violations that can lead to fines and penalties from this California department?

What are some common violations that can lead to fines and penalties from this California department?

Cali isn’t always fun in the sun for cannabusiness operators. Enforcement actions the BCC agency and other associated agencies could undertake are serious. If licensees are found violating any acts or laws, they may be subject to fines, denial of license renewal or issuance, interim suspension, and licensing restrictions.

Common cannabis violations that can lead to fines or another negative response from this agency include:

cannabis traceability


This involves failing to use and/or maintain traceability as a processor or retailer. The agency wants to see the end products and know where, how, and when the flower was grown. If it’s an operation producing oil, topicals, edibles, tinctures, or another cannabis derivative product, they want to know who processed it and how. This is why a robust seed-to-sale tracking application is crucial while operating in the cannabis space.

cannabis Security


Security and surveillance laws ensure legal cannabis doesn’t get sold on the illicit market. Without these preventative measures in place, there’s a greater chance someone will steal or “misplace” products and sell them on the black market.  This is why it’s essential to invest in a cannabis security system that accounts for state and local law.

cannabis sales to minors

Sales to Minors

Anyone purchasing cannabis products or services must be at least 21 years old in California. In some cases, regulators send undercover purchasers to cannabis retail shops to try buying products without providing proof of their age. Other times, an underage user is arrested with cannabis products that are traced back to the retailer. Avoid these problems by giving budtenders and other people who provide products and services proper training on the proof of age requirements.

Advertising Violations

Advertising Violations

Improper displays and signage can also result in costly infractions and penalties. Make sure you understand California’s advertising laws before you begin marketing your cannabusiness.

How do I apply for a state license with the Bureau of Cannabis Control?

You can find online applications for cannabusiness licensing through the Bureau’s Online Licensing System. Once you fill out your application, you can file it electronically. The Bureau also offers applications on its Application Forms page. You can submit these via mail or personal delivery at one of the BCC’s offices’ locations.

If you’re interested in applying for state licensure with the Bureau, it recommends contacting your local government first to learn more about the rules and requirements for cannabis activities in your city or county before you apply.

Before applying, review the Bureau’s demands and all relevant requirements in the MAUCRSA. The Bureau lists its regulations and updates on its Laws and Regulations” page.

Also, feel free to check out the BCC’s Facebook and Instagram for more insight. This California department has regularly reported information to both Facebook and Instagram, as well as news regarding the industry.

Bureau of Cannabis Control Navigation

The Bureau of Cannabis Control agency regulates cannacompany activities in California. Compliance is essential to operate, and as these laws continue to change, it’s crucial to keep track of all updates.

Our compliance-savvy services will scale your business! If you need help navigating these laws or are considering entering this space, contact our team today!