The Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA)

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The Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA)

California’s laws regulating cannabis were substantially revised as of 2018 by comprehensive  new legislation known as the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. 

MAUCRSA establishes a uniform licensing regime for both medical and adult-use cannabis effective Jan 1, 2018. Consisting of two separate  bills sponsored by the Governor’s office, SB 94 and AB 133, MAUCRSA supplants prior legislation known as MCRSA (formerly MMRSA), which  applied only to medical cannabis. It also makes adjustments to California’s legalization law, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) a.k.a. Prop  64, consistent with the intent of the initiative. 

Licenses under MAUCRSA are to be issued according to regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Cannabis Control and its affiliated agencies,  the Department of Food and Agriculture (for cultivation) and the Department of Public Health(for manufacturing, packaging and labeling).  Information is posted at the California Cannabis Portal. 

Existing, non-licensed medical marijuana collectives, which are currently authorized by state law SB 420, will cease to be lawful starting one  year after the Bureau posts a notice that it has begun licensing (HSC 11362.775(d-e). After that, the only gardens that will be legal without a  state license will be individual personal-use gardens or collective gardens for up to five patients, subject to state law and local control. By Prop  215, medical patients and caregivers will still be entitled to grow however much is required for their personal medical needs. Non-medical  growers are limited to six plants per residence by AUMA. 


MAUCRSA adopts the same basic framework as MCRSA/MMRSA, but with a number of significant revisions. In particular, MAUCRSA: 

  • Changes references to “marijuana” to “cannabis” throughout  California law and renames the chief regulatory agency the  Bureau of Cannabis Control. 
  • Extends the basic license types in MCRSA (cultivator,  manufacturer, retailer, distributor, testing) to both medical and  non-medical applicants. Includes both specialty cottage and  microbusiness licenses for small-scale producers. Eliminates the  separate transporter license in MCRSA. Provides for large-scale  cultivation licenses pursuant to AUMA (Prop 64) as of Jan 1, 2023. 
  • Requires separate license applications for medical and adult-use  facilities, but lets applicants combine the two in the same facility. 
  • Authorizes the Bureau to issue 12-month temporary licenses  during the transition time when licensing begins in 2018. 
  • Allows applicants other than testing labs and large-scale  cultivators to file for any combination of licenses, repealing  previous MCRSA restrictions on vertical integration. In particular,  allows cultivators and manufacturers to operate as their own  distributors, which was forbidden in MCRSA. 
  • Deletes a provision in MCRSA authorizing counties and cities to  ban deliveries into their jurisdiction from state-licensed delivery  services. Attorneys are uncertain as to whether such local  bans are still legal. Local governments must allow transport of  cannabis by licensees on public roads , but “transport” doesn’t  necessarily include “delivery.” (BPC 26090(e)) 
  • Specifies that retailers can conduct sales exclusively by delivery.  (BPC 26070 (a)1) 
  • Repeals AUMA’s prohibition on licenses to out-of-state  applicants. 
  • Repeals the area-based 100 square ft. per patient medical  cultivation guideline from MCRSA, as well as the collective  cultivation provision allowing 5 patients to grow up to 500 square  feet together without a state license. However, Prop. 64 added  Section 26033 to the Business and Professions Code, protecting  patients and primary caregivers who cultivate an unspecified  amount for themselves or no more than five patients, if they  receive compensation only under Subdivision (c) of Section  11362.765 of the Health and Safety Code.  

Under Prop 215, patients are still entitled to grow and  possess whatever amount of marijuana is consistent with  their medical need, though this is subject to local limits and  land-use restrictions, including bans.  

As previously mandated by MCRSA, California’s current SB 420  law authorizing collective medical cultivation is scheduled to  sunset one year after the Bureau gives notice that it is issuing  

licenses (December 2018). From that point forward, unlicensed  commercial medical cannabis collectives will have no explicit  legal protection under California law. 

  • Redefines “volatile solvent” as one that “is or produces a  flammable gas or vapor that, when present in the air in sufficient  quantities, will create explosive or ignitable mixtures” (eliminating  mention of alcohol, which was in AUMA). (HSC 11362.3)
  • Authorizes existing non-profit medical cannabis corporations  under SB 420 to re-organize as for-profits in conformity with the  new law (BPC 26231).