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California’s Department of Cannabis Control is live, and it has a director nominee.
While the consolidation of California’s cannabis regulators has long been in the works, it became official with the passage of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest budget, which contains several additional cannabis-related efforts.
For example, it increased the allocations from cannabis tax revenue to $629.1 million, and it allocated $100 million from the state’s general fund toward “grant funding for local governments to complete environmental studies, license reviews, and mitigate environmental impacts. The proposal supports a broader effort to transition cannabis businesses into the regulated market and to reduce barriers to entry for small businesses.”
It also created a Deputy Director of Equity and Inclusion position within the newly formed Department of Cannabis Control.
That Department, which consolidated the authorities of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, launched this week.
And, notably, its next director is likely to be Nicole Elliott, Newsom’s Senior Advisor on Cannabis. Newsom’s appointment, announced this week, needs Senate confirmation.
A new national drug czar.
President Joe Biden’s administration has announced its nomination of Rahul Gupta to oversee the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Gupta was previously West Virginia’s public health commissioner.
New York’s top law group provides dos and don’ts for lawyers working with cannabis industry.
The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics published an opinion last week regarding how lawyers in the state should approach the forthcoming adult use industry.
The topics included: “Counseling clients engaged in recreational marijuana business,” “accepting partial ownership of recreational marijuana business in lieu of fee,” and “personal use of recreational marijuana.”
Their advice, in short: “In light of current federal enforcement policy, the New York Rules of Professional Conduct permit a lawyer to assist a client in conduct designed to comply with New York’s Recreational Marijuana Law and its implementing regulations, notwithstanding that federal narcotics law prohibits the activities authorized by that law. A lawyer may also use marijuana for recreational purposes and may, when the law becomes fully effective, cultivate an authorized amount of marijuana plants at home for personal use. Finally, subject to compliance with Rules 1.7 and 1.8(a), an attorney may accept an equity ownership interest in a cannabis business in exchange for legal services.”
+ More: Catch up on Cannabis Wire’s coverage of New York’s path to legalization.