California enacted legal recreational cannabis in 2016. Prop 64, the law that legalized the sale of cannabis, included a requirement that the state set up a regulatory system to track and monitor and tax the cannabis industry. Those regulations went into effect in 2018.

In November 2016, California voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

As a result of recreational legalization, local governments (city and county) may not prohibit adults from growing, using, or transporting marijuana for personal use.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control (established as Bureau of Marijuana Control under Proposition 64, formerly the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation) is an agency of the State of California within the Department of Consumer Affairs, charged with regulating medical cannabis (MMJ) in accordance with state law pursuant to the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act passed by the legislature in 2015 (amended in 2016) and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64), passed by voter initiative in November 2016.

The agency was charged with creating rules for the legal non-medical market to take effect January 1, 2018; and to regulate the state’s multibillion dollar medical program for the first time.

When the agency published emergency rules on November 16, 2017 under California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 42, it effectively became the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

In 2020 it was changed to the Department of Cannabis Control, and regulatory rules and processes were consolidated.

The Department of Cannabis Control enacts the regulations that were put in place, including issuing licenses to businesses that apply.

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