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MANUFACTURED CANNABIS SAFETY BRANCH

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Licensing

Temporary Licenses

Transition Period​​

General Questions

What are the state licensing authorities?

There are three state licensing authorities that each regulate a different aspect of the commercial cannabis market:

  • Bureau of Cannabis Control, CA Department of Consumer Affairs – responsible for licensing cannabis retailers, distributors, third-party testing laboratories and microbusinesses.
  • Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, CA Department of Public Health – responsible for licensing manufacturers of cannabis products
  • CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, CA Department of Food & Agriculture – responsible for licensing cannabis cultivators and operating the state's Track-and-Trace system

For more information on the Bureau or CalCannabis, visit the Cannabis Portal. CalCannabis has a fact sheet that provides a visual of the division of responsibilities between the three licensing authorities.

 

What does the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch do?

The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB), housed within the California Department of Public Health, licenses and regulates manufacturers of commercial cannabis products.

 

Can I manufacture products in a shared kitchen?

CDPH is currently developing additional regulations that will outline licensing and requirements for shared manufacturing facilities. These regulations are expected to be released soon.

Are there any specific types of cannabis products that are not allowed?

All cannabis products must be manufactured to meet regulatory product standards. These include the following requirements for edibles:

  • Products cannot contain alcohol, nicotine or added caffeine. The prohibition of alcohol in cannabis products does not include tinctures.
  • Products that must be kept under 41 degrees are not allowed.
  • Low-acid products and seafood are prohibited.
  • Most dairy and meat products are not allowed.
  • Products that are easily confused with non-infused products, like those that mimic traditionally available foods in shape and packaging, are prohibited.
  • Edibles cannot be in shape of a human, animal, insect or fruit.
  • Finally, cannabis products cannot be attractive to children.

 

What are the requirements for packages and labels?

Cannabis product packaging cannot resemble traditionally available food packages and must be tamper-evident, re-sealable if the product includes multiple servings, and child-resistant. In addition, packaging for edibles must be opaque. All manufactured products must be packaged according to regulatory standards before they are released to a distributor.

Cannabis product labeling may not refer to the product as a candy, be attractive to children, make health claims or include cartoons. The labeling requirements fall into two categories: primary panel requirements and informational panel requirements.

The primary panel is the portion of the label that is most likely to be displayed to the consumer at retail. Primary panel labeling must include:

  • The identity of the product
  • The amount of THC/CBD in the package
  • The CDPH-issued universal symbol
  • The net weight or volume

In addition, primary paneling for edible products must include the words "cannabis-infused" and contain the amount of THC/CBD per serving.

The informational panel can be located anywhere else on the package. Informational panel labeling requirements include:

  • The manufacturer's name and contact information (website or phone number)
  • The date the product was manufactured
  • The government warning statement
  • The ingredient list
  • Instructions for use
  • The expiration date
  • The unique ID/batch number

In addition, the informational panel for edible products must also contain allergen information, a list of artificial food colorings and basic nutritional information (the amount of sodium, sugar, carbohydrates and fat per serving). Medicinal products must be labeled "For Medicinal Use Only."

 

Can I manufacture both adult-use and medicinal products at the same premises?

Yes, a business can hold licenses for both medicinal and adult-use cannabis manufacturing at the same premises.

During the transition period, which is in effect from January 1 to July 1, 2018, products will be able to cross between the medicinal and adult-use markets. Beginning on July 1, 2018, the supply chains for medicinal and adult-use cannabis products must be kept separate.

 

Where can I find information on the health impacts of cannabis?

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is leading a campaign called "Let's Talk Cannabis," which serves as a resource for Californians seeking fact-based information about cannabis and its effects on their health. More information about the health impacts of cannabis can be found on the CDPH Let's Talk Cannabis website.  

Licensing

What types of cannabis licenses are available?

MCSB offers four license types for cannabis manufacturers:

  • Type 7 – for extraction using a volatile solvent (ex: butane, propane and hexane)
  • Type 6 – for extraction using a mechanical method or non-volatile solvent (ex: CO2, ethanol, water, or food-grade dry ice, cooking oils or butter)
  • Type N – for infusions
  • Type P – for packaging and labeling only

Each license type is inclusive of the types in the list below it. For example, a Type 7 licensee would be able to perform Type 6, N or P tasks. A Type 6 license could perform Type N or P tasks. A Type N licensee would be able to perform Type P tasks.

In addition to these four licenses, MCSB is developing a fifth license type, Type S, for shared-use manufacturing facilities. This license type will be for businesses and facility owners that alternate use of a manufacturing premises. More information on this license type will be available soon.

More information about licenses for retailers, distributors, third-party testing laboratories and microbusinesses can be found on the Bureau of Cannabis Control's website. More information about licenses for cultivators can be found on the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing website.

 

Do I need two separate licenses to do two types of manufacturing?

You will only need two types of manufacturing licenses for the same premises if you plan to create both adult-use and medicinal products. If you are conducting manufacturing for both the medicinal and adult-use markets, you will need both M- and A-licenses to operate in both of those markets.

However you do not need two licenses to conduct different types of manufacturing operations within one of those markets at the same premises, as long as all activities are disclosed on the application. A Type 7 licensee can also conduct Type 6, N & P activities on the same premises. A Type 6 licensee can conduct Type N & P activities on the same premises. A Type N licensee can conduct Type P activities on the same premises.

 

Is there a limit to the number of licenses CDPH will issue?

No limit is in place for the number of licenses that CDPH will issue.

Temporary Licenses

When will CDPH begin accepting temporary licenses?

CDPH is currently accepting temporary license applications.

 

How do I apply for a temporary license?

You can access the temporary license application on our website. The completed application and a copy of your local city or county authorization can be emailed to mcls@cdph.ca.gov  or mailed to the following address:

CDPH – Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch

Attn: Licensing Unit

PO Box 997377, MS 7606

Sacramento, CA 95899-7377

 

What is local authorization, and where do I get it?

A local authorization is a document from your local city or county that permits you to operate a cannabis business. This documentation will look different in every jurisdiction but may be a cannabis business permit, temporary cannabis license or letter of authorization to operate a cannabis business. Contact your city or county government office for more information about the procedures in your jurisdiction.

 

How long can I operate under a temporary license?

A temporary license is valid for 120 days from the date of the license. MCSB may approve 90-day extension periods if the holder of the temporary license submits a complete annual license application prior to the expiration date of the temporary license.

 

How long will it take to process my temporary license application?

MCSB is committed to processing applications for temporary licenses as quickly as possible to minimize disruption to the market. Once an application is received, it will be reviewed for completeness and the city or county office will be contacted to verify the local authorization. The local office will be given up to 10 days to respond. If the local office confirms that the business is authorized to conduct commercial cannabis activities, MCSB will issue the license. No licenses will have an effective date prior to January 1, 2018.

If commercial cannabis activity is banned in the city or county where your premises is located, you will not be able to obtain a state cannabis license.

 

Can I operate my business prior to my temporary license being approved?

Beginning January 1, 2018, you must have a license to operate a cannabis business within the state of California. 

 

Once I have a temporary license, when can I apply for an annual license?

Annual licenses are being accepted through our online system, the Manufactured Cannabis Licensing System (MCLS). MCLS is available to access now on the Licensing page of our website.

 

What are the fees for a temporary license?

There is no fee to apply for a temporary license. 

 

Do I have to have a temporary license to apply for an annual license?

Beginning January 1, 2018, you must have a license to operate a cannabis business within the state of California. You can apply for an annual license whether or not you have a temporary license.   

 

Do I need to have both medicinal ("M-license") and adult use licenses ("A-license")?

During the transition period, which lasts from January 1 until July 1, 2018, you can do business with adult-use licensees or medicinal use licensees, regardless of whether you have an A- or M- license. Beginning July 1, 2018, A-licensees can only do business with A-licensees, and M-licensees can only do business with M-licensees.

 

Does the temporary license cover all of my locations?

Temporary licenses are only valid for one premises. If your business has multiple premises where cannabis manufacturing occurs, you will need to apply for a temporary license for each premises.

Beginning January 1, 2018, only licensed businesses will be able to conduct commercial cannabis activity and may only do business with other licensees. If a business is cited for operating without a license, the business might not be able to obtain a license in the future.

Transition Period

What is the transition period?

The three licensing authorities have outlined a six-month transition period to address existing product and support a smooth transition into a newly regulated market. The transition period allows for existing product to move though the commercial cannabis market if it meets basic requirements.

Products manufactured during the transition period, from January 1 until prior to July 1, 2018, must meet THC limits, product standards and basic packaging and labeling requirements. Cannabis products must be in child-resistant packaging, and the label must contain the government warning statement and amount of THC/CBD per serving and per package.

If I have an A-license (for adult use), will I be able to buy from and sell to M-license (for medicinal use) businesses?

During the transition period, which lasts from January 1 until July 1, 2018, you can do business with adult-use licensees or medicinal use licensees, regardless of whether you have an A- or M- license. Beginning July 1, 2018, A-licensees can only do business with A-licensees, and M-licensees can only do business with M-licensees.

What are the packaging and labeling requirements during the transition period?

During the transition period, which lasts from January 1 until July 1, 2018, cannabis products may enter the commercial cannabis market if they have child-resistant packaging and the label contains the government warning statement and the amount of THC per serving. If the primary packaging is not child-resistant, the product may be placed in secondary packaging that is child-resistant to fulfill this requirement. 

What are the THC limits for cannabis products manufactured during the transition period?

All cannabis products manufactured on or after January 1, 2018 must meet regulatory THC limits. Edible products cannot contain more than 10 milligrams per serving or 100 milligrams per package. Non-edible cannabis products cannot contain more than 1,000 milligrams per package (adult-use) or 2,000 milligrams per package (medicinal).

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