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Winter LLP Update: Self-Distribution of Cannabis Products

There has been a lot of confusion recently about Self-Distribution under state and local laws. It hasn’t helped matters that some local (city/county) ordinances, in jurisdictions such as Monterey County, for example, allow cultivation and manufacturing permit holders to “self-distribute” their material or products without the use of a third-party distributor.

As such, this update is being provided to help you understand what, exactly, “self-distribution” means at the state level.

Under current California law, there are only two types of businesses that can legally transfer or transport cannabis: (1) Licensed dispensaries that are authorized to provide delivery services can “transfer” cannabis or cannabis products directly to a customer, and (2) licensed distributors can “transport” cannabis and cannabis products between licensees. It is important to emphasize that Section 26070 of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) expressly states that “the transportation of cannabis and cannabis products shall only be conducted by persons holding a distributor license.

Section 26110 of MAUCRSA does allow a cultivation or manufacturing licensee to self-distribute its cannabis or cannabis products to other licensees. However, this is only allowed if the business also holds a valid Type 11 state distribution license. Accordingly, while a local city or county ordinance may allow a permitted manufacturer or cultivator to distribute its own cannabis or cannabis products without a separate locally issued distribution permit, a Type 11 state distribution license is still required.

Whether self-distributing or not, all must comply with the regulations and requirements placed upon regularly licensed distributors, which include the following:

  • Prior to transportation, distributors shall:
    • Complete an electronic shipping manifest.
    • Transmit the manifest to the bureau and the licensee receiving product.

  • During transportation, distributors shall:
    • Maintain a physical copy of the manifest and make it available upon request to the Department of Consumer Affairs and law enforcement officers.

  • Upon receipt, licensee receiving shipment shall:
    • Submit to the licensing authority a record verifying receipt of the shipment and the details of the shipment.

We hope this clears up some of the confusion surrounding the requirements placed on cannabis businesses that hope to Self-Distribute their material or products to other licensees.

As always, should you have any questions or want any additional information regarding Self-Distribution, or any other local permitting or state licensing requirements, please let us know.

Thank you, stay safe, and good luck out there! Todd Winter, WINTER LLP.

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