One of the most contested aspects of California’s permanent cannabis rules revolves around delivery in cities and counties that have banned the sale of cannabis—but delivery companies will probably win this particular battle.
Much to the dismay of various opposing organizations and law enforcement groups, California regulators approved a provision to allow cannabis deliveries in all areas of the state. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), Department of Public Health and Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) sent final drafts of permanent cannabis rules to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on Dec. 3, 2018, and the BCC’s rules include the delivery provision. The delivery provision is a response to reports of several cities and counties that insisted they could arrest cannabis delivery drivers coming from other cities. The OAL was given 30 days from that date to complete its full review and to finalize the permanent rules.
Once the permanent rules are finalized, cities and counties can continue to ban cannabis storefronts as they please, but they can’t block delivery companies from entering their jurisdiction. Cannabis delivery companies like Eaze, Kushfly, HERB and Nugg are increasingly staking out territory throughout California, and they could expand much faster under the permanent rules.
Pending the OAL’s final green light, any Californian adult could order cannabis via delivery—no matter where they live. “The way it would work is similar to pizza delivery,” California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) Communications and Outreach Director Josh Drayton told CULTURE. “If a pizza delivery company is in one city, it can deliver into another. The way that this would read for cannabis is that if a delivery service is located in a regulated area, and they are licensed, they are still able to deliver into banned cities and counties.”
Originally, the regulations were supposed to remain private for a month, but by Dec. 7, 2018, the rules were released. BCC Assistant Chief of Communications Alex Traverso however, told CULTURE, that the rules are contingent upon being finalized by the OAL.
“If a pizza delivery company is in one city, it can deliver into another. The way that this would read for cannabis is that if a delivery service is located in a regulated area, and they are licensed, they are still able to deliver into banned cities and counties.”
The CCIA represents the voice of Californians who work in the cannabis industry, and the association promotes state laws that are beneficial to its various causes. “Our association strongly supports statewide delivery,” Drayton said. “We do believe that this regulation reflects the will of California voters that supported Prop. 64. [Organizations] launched a campaign against this called ‘Stop Wandering Weed,’ but we fully support this regulation and greatly appreciate that this administration and the BCC also interpreted the statute in the same manner.”
The California Police Chiefs Association, League of California Cities and United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council opposed the provision allowing statewide deliveries and launched an online petition. According to the Stop Wandering Weed campaign website, the delivery provision would “eviscerate” cities’ ability to ban cannabis. Once the permanent rules began to be released, the Stop Wandering Weed campaign pulled its ads off of social media. Their efforts were in vain.
Many other rules were clarified or reiterated. The CDFA, for instance, also released its draft regulations, which would continue to allow farm operations to obtain an unlimited number of cultivation permits. The OAL is not expected to approve the permanent rule packages until sometime in mid-January. Until then, California’s emergency rules that were re-adopted in June 2018 will remain in place.