California was the first to decriminalize the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215, though leaving virtually all regulation to local governments. In 2015, the California legislature enacted a comprehensive regulatory framework for the licensing and enforcement of cultivation, manufacturing, retail sale, transportation, storage, delivery and testing of medicinal cannabis with the passage of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA).
In November of 2016, the voters passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), legalizing the adult use of cannabis in California. AUMA also decriminalizes the sale and distribution of cannabis within a robust regulatory scheme anchored by a “track and trace” system, designed to track the sale and movement of all cannabis and cannabis products throughout the state, which is scheduled to be online beginning in 2018.
In 2017, the Legislature approved SB 94, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), which consolidated our medical and adult- use laws in a single system of regulation and tax collection. The state issued emergency regulations to implement our cannabis laws in the late fall of 2017, and began accepting applications and issuing state licenses in January 2018.
California has a duel licensing system, meaning cannabis businesses must obtain both a state license and a local permit, or authorization.