California has helped lead the way for the legalization of cannabis. It started in 1996 when the California government launched its first medical marijuana program to gauge how society responds to loosened marijuana laws. Then, the government proposed the initiative regarding marijuana legalization in 1972.
Nonetheless, 24 years later, California set a trend that would spread over the nation, when in 2016, California made another power move, becoming the sixth state to legalize marijuana in the United States. The law made it legal to cultivate, use and sell cannabis for those 21 and older. Today, California’s legal cannabis space is one of the most profitable in the world.
The cannabis business has had its share of ups and downs, as most start-up businesses have, but over time it has become a source of income for California.
The first cannabis shop 420 Central opened in Santa Ana on Jan. 1, 2018, with people from various parts of SoCal standing in line awaiting to purchase legal cannabis.
“This is a historic day for the state of California,” Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax said then in a prepared statement. “We are hopeful that we have put forth a model that other states will look to as an example when they head down the path to legalization.”
Of course, with the legalization of weed, the government had to put a department in place to oversee distribution to local shops and businesses around California. That’s when cannabis control units were created.
The different units created to oversee transactions, orders, events, growth farms, and other things include the Bureau of Cannabis Control (Department of Consumer Affairs); CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division (California Department of Food and Agriculture); and Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (California Department of Public Health); These three units eventually came together to form the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to better utilize their talents and provide better service to consumers and businesses.
The City of Los Angeles also has its cannabis department of regulation. It offers some different services as it is leveling the playing field for minorities with its social equity program.
Led by program director Dr. Imani Brown, the department oversees the Business, Licensing, Compliance, Technical Assistance, and Workforce Development Programs. Brown is also responsible for managing the department’s Grants and Pro Bono Legal Services programs for verified Social Equity Program Applicants to promote equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry.
This is designed to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities and address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs in those communities.
The Equity program is supported by the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018, which authorizes the Bureau of Cannabis Control to provide technical assistance to specified local equity programs.
The act defines a “local equity program” as a program adopted or operated by a local jurisdiction which focuses on the inclusion and support of individuals and communities in the industry which are linked to populations or neighborhoods that were disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization.
The act requires the bureau to administer a grant program for local jurisdictions that have adopted or operate a local equity program.
For more information about the regulations, how to apply for a license, or to apply to work for the DCC, visit the DCC website, https://tinyurl.com/mr3a9k29.