California Government Launches New Cannabis-Related Business Portals

In anticipation of the January 1, 2018 roll-out of legal recreational marijuana in California, the state government has launched a pair of web portals to act as "one-stop shops" for the creation and licensing of cannabis-related businesses.

The California Cannabis Portal (CCP) is a state government website with links to all relevant players in the California cannabis regulatory structure, as well as useful information for anyone seeking to start a marijuana business. Cannabis cultivation, transportation, distribution, testing, dispensing, and manufacturing are highly regulated and licensed by a myriad of California State and local government entities under the aegis of the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC). The BCC is the lead agency in developing regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in California, and is responsible for licensing retailers, distributors, testing labs and microbusinesses. The CCP in turn has links to the BCC's own portal where users can apply directly for all necessary licenses.

However, businesses seeking licensing for cannabis-related activities will first need to file business formation documents with the Secretary of State, which recently launched its Cannabizfile portal for information about cannabis-related business filings. The site allows marijuana businesses to find all the links they need to complete their business formation in one place, rather than having to scour the Secretary of State website for the proper forms, information, and records searches.

This portal will allow the Secretary of State to fulfill its two missions regarding cannabis law implementation: (1) registering marijuana-related business entities, and (2) registering marijuana-related trademarks and service marks. Notably, starting in January 2018, the Secretary of State will accept filings for a new entity type targeting growers: the Cannabis Cooperative Association. In addition, for-profit entities such as limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, and limited partnerships will be available for use in marijuana-related businesses after January 1, 2018, including in conversions from existing non-profits.

All of this monumental change has been brought to us by Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which was passed on November 9, 2016. Under Proposition 64, adults 21 years of age or older can legally grow, possess, and use cannabis for non-medicinal purposes, with certain restrictions.

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