California opens new marijuana agency 5 years after legalization, aiming to simplify rules

Five years after California legalized recreational marijuana, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law aimed at simplifying how the state regulates the growing industry.

The new law creates a single Department of Cannabis Control, consolidating enforcement, licensing and environmental oversight that had fallen under three different departments.

Industry representatives praised the change, which Newsom first proposed in January 2020.

We “are excited to see the consolidation,” said Lindsay Robinson, the executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, representing over 400 licensed businesses across the state. “We see this as a big win for the industry.”

The Department of Cannabis Control will now take over responsibilities from the Bureau of Cannabis Control under the Department of Consumer Affairs, CalCannabis under the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch under the Department of Health.

Cannabis companies had often expressed difficulty navigating three different agencies with varying protocols and processes, according to Robinson.

“I think that having all of this housed under one agency is going to help with communication, it’s going to help with transparency and hopefully with process time for applications too,” Robinson said.

The department will also manage California’s track-and-trace system, following the movement of cannabis and cannabis products through the legal supply chain.

The Newsom administration wants to make it less likely someone will choose to operate in the illicit market, Christina Dempsey, the Acting Deputy Director for the DCC, told The Sacramento Bee by email.

Robinson called the licensing of California’s cannabis industry when voters approved recreational cannabis use in 2016 a “behemoth project” from the start.

“There’s still some hiccups, we’re still sort of in this phase of we’re slowly maturing,” Robinson said. “The consolidation is just kind of part of the maturation, that hopefully it’ll make things easier not only for the regulators, but also for the folks navigating the system.”

Employees of the pre-consolidation agencies will continue to use their same offices to ensure continuity and stability, according to Dempsey, and will receive advance notice if office locations change.

The new state department falls under the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. It will still use the current licensing systems, but the law prohibits the department from renewing provisional licenses starting in 2025.

The provisional licensing program was scheduled to sunset at the beginning of this year. The new law extends it until 2026.

The bill also creates a deputy director of equity and inclusion to oversee the new department’s programs and ensure implementation of the California Cannabis Equity Act.

Cannabis businesses do not need to submit new license applications with the new department. Existing licenses and license applications will automatically be transferred to the Department of Cannabis Control.

Researchers also do not need to worry about changes to grant funding under the consolidation. Local government and law enforcement may continue working with existing contacts.

The new department also comes with a new logo: a simple cannabis leaf with intertwining leaves that, according to the department’s press release, represent “the unification of the three programs and collaborative spirit with which DCC intends to engage businesses and stakeholders.”

The Department of Cannabis Control is located at 2920 Kilgore Road in Rancho Cordova, where the Bureau of Cannabis Control formerly resided.

Five myths about marijuana

No, it doesn’t lead to violent crime, and no, those strains aren’t that different

It’s been seven years since the country’s first legal recreational marijuana shops opened in Colorado and Washington state. What was once a bold social experiment is now commonplace, with 18 states plus D.C. — representing well over one-third of the U.S. population — permitting recreational use. Nevertheless, myths about marijuana use and legalization remain widespread. Some are stubborn artifacts of the long-standing war on drugs, while others reflect the influence of a growing industry looking to attract new customers. Here are a few of the most persistent ones.


Myth No. 1

Marijuana is a gateway drug.

“Do most people who use other drugs start with marijuana? Most definitely,” reads a fact sheet on the website of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a prominent anti-pot organization. “Research demonstrates that 99% of those addicted to other drugs started with alcohol and marijuana,” the group claims. Pot-squeamish politicians — including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), President Biden and Rep. Andy Harris(R-Md.) — have cited this “gateway theory” as a reason to keep restrictions in place.

In reality, no credible evidence shows that pot makes people more inclined to use other drugs. That, at least, was the conclusion of an exhaustive 96-page inquiry by the Justice Department and the Library of Congress in 2018. “No causal link between cannabis use and the use of other illicit drugs can be claimed at this time,” the authors wrote.

The shoddy reasoning undergirding the gateway theory is on full display in SAM’s statements. It’s true, for instance, that most people who use opiates and other dangerous drugs have also used marijuana at some point in their lives. However, you can make the same claim about alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine or just about any other common substance. “Ninety-nine percent of those addicted to other drugs started with milk” is a true statement — and also perfectly meaningless.

Myth No. 2

Marijuana leads to violent crime.

This myth has gained some steam because of the 2019 publication of “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” a polemic by Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter who has also gained attention for his aggressively skeptical coverage of the pandemic and the coronavirus vaccines. In the book and elsewhere, Berenson attempts to tie marijuana legalization to increases in murders and assaults: “Marijuana causes psychosis. Psychosis causes violence. The obvious implication is that marijuana causes violence.” Other prohibitionists have attempted to show a link between marijuana use and mass shootings.

There are indeed well-documented ties between heavy marijuana use and psychosis, particularly among the young. But teasing out the causality is incredibly difficult. Does marijuana use cause psychosis, or are people who develop psychosis already more predisposed toward marijuana use? Researchers say Berenson and others overstate their claims and ignore evidence that marijuana may help some people with psychotic disorders.

Beyond that, scholars have done plenty of rigorous work directly examining the relationship between marijuana use and crime, and for all intents and purposes, they haven’t found one. In 2013, a sweeping review of the evidence conducted by the Rand Corp. on behalf of the White House concluded that “marijuana use does not induce violent crime.”

A more recent Justice Department-funded study of the effects of legalization in Washington state found that “neither cannabis-related crime nor more serious offenses seemed to be affected by legalization.” Numerous other papers have turned up evidence that marijuana use and legalization may lead to less violent crime. Given that the drug’s most common effects include “a pleasant euphoria and sense of relaxation,” it isn’t hard to understand why.

Myth No. 3

Potency is an important indicator of quality and safety.

No topic in marijuana produces a greater noise-to-signal ratio than potency, or the concentration of THC — the plant’s main psychoactive compound — in a given product. Legalization skeptics claim today’s cannabis is stronger than ever before — “not your father’s marijuana,” as they say. Pot advocates, meanwhile, often say stronger weed is better, because you can theoretically consume less of it to achieve the same high.

That said, marijuana is getting stronger, although it’s hard to say by exactly how much. Most of our longitudinal knowledge of pot potency comes from a government-run monitoring program that’s been marred by shoddy data-collection practices for much of its existence. There’s no question, however, that under both prohibition and legalization, pot growers have been obsessively selecting for higher THC potency in their plants.

That’s not necessarily good. The research on potency, summed up in a 2020 reportfrom the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, shows a good deal of evidence that people who routinely use stronger marijuana put themselves at a higher risk for mental health disorders than people who use weaker stuff. Might users of high-potency product consume less? It’s a nice idea in theory, but the real-world data is mixed. A recent review found, for instance, that “users of more potent cannabis products incompletely adjust their THC doses,” which resulted in those users reporting “more negative consequences than users of less potent products.”

Other recent research has shown that high-potency cannabis products don’t necessarily get users more high. And recent investigations have revealed that the potency testing industry is rife with fraud, quality-assurance problems and general incompetence. Those THC labels on the products at the dispensary may not mean that much, in the end.

Myth No. 4

Different strains produce different intoxicating effects.

Speaking of labels at dispensaries, pot connoisseurs often rhapsodize about their favorite strains the way wine snobs discuss their favorite chardonnays. Product descriptions promise effects from locking you to the couch to motivating you to clean the house.

But scientists who’ve studied the genetics of cannabis strains say those alleged distinctions have little grounding in reality. A 2015 report, for instance, found only minor differences in the genetic makeup of cannabis strains. “A marijuana strain name does not necessarily represent a genetically unique variety,” the authors wrote. In about a third of the plants they studied, individual samples were “more genetically similar to samples with different [strain] names than to samples with identical names.” A 2019 study failed to find meaningful genetic differences even between the two major varieties, indica and sativa, often said to produce very different types of intoxication. An analysis in 2018 concluded that “the concept of a ‘strain’ does not reflect the crop domestication, breeding programs or plant chemistry.”

Cannabis contains hundreds of chemical compounds, most of which are poorly understood. It’s possible that different combinations could produce different intoxicating effects. But the research strongly suggests there’s little correlation between how a strain is labeled and what it actually does.

Myth No. 5

Legalization has been a public health disaster.

Opponents of legalization often make their case in apocalyptic terms. Groups like Parents Opposed to Pot, for instance, claim that legalization is “an anti-science Public Health disaster” and an “assault on public safety” that “increases the black market for all drugs, and overdose deaths,” and that “on EVERY measure, marijuana legalization is failed policy.” Medical groups have argued that legalization will lead to increases in teen drug use. Police groups have warned that traffic fatalities will rise.

But one of the most striking facts about the states that have legalized is how little has changed there. This spring, for instance, two economists from the University of Colorado at Denver and Montana State University performed a comprehensive review of the public health consequences of marijuana legalization, encompassing dozens of previously published studies. They found little evidence suggesting that recreational marijuana laws result in greater teen drug use, but strong evidence that teens who do use marijuana are less likely to use alcohol — a net public health win, given what we know about the relative dangers of the two substances. There are also some provisional signs that legal weed is taking a bite out of opioid mortality, directly contradicting prohibitionists’ dire warnings.

On the traffic front, the researchers found that “road safety improves when medical marijuana is legalized” but that the jury’s still out on the effect specifically of recreational pot. At the workplace, multiple studies have shown that legalization reduces sick-day use and absenteeism.

The net post-legalization changes are modest and trending slightly toward positive. This is not terribly surprising: Human societies are massive and complex systems, with thousands of interconnected parts interacting in unpredictable ways. It’s naive to think that altering a single variable, like the legal status of weed, could bring the whole edifice crashing down.


By Christopher Ingrahamch

July 15, 2021

What’s the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a very important cannabinoid, mainly thanks to its ability to serve as a more mellow and functional substitute for Delta-9 THC (or what we typically refer to as “traditional marijuana.”)

While there is no denying that Delta-9 THC is a powerful compound – not to mention a potent and natural healer for those suffering from a host of ailments and medical issues – it also carries with it quite a few adverse side effects. Paranoia and anxiety often top the list of undesirable side effects associated with traditional marijuana – along with sleep issues and addiction with longer-term use.

Delta-8 THC doesn’t appear to have many of these harmful properties – at least not nearly to the same extent as Delta-9 THC. This makes it a top choice for those seeking similar relaxational properties and euphoric effects to Delta-9 THC, but with far less of the adverse mental side effects.

Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC: Side-by-Side Comparison

The “8” in Delta-8 indicates the location of the chemical bond – which is only one spot over from that of Delta-9. Thanks to these structural similarities, Delta-8 also shares many of the same properties as Delta-9 THC (euphoric, relaxing, body and mind effects, etc.). However, because of the minor chemical differences between the two, there are also some notable differences.


Like Delta-9, Delta-8 THC also binds to CB1 receptors. But because it is more stable and mellow than it’s potent THC cousin, Delta-8 produces a slightly lesser effect, specifically in terms of its psychoactive properties. Many of the negative side effects of Delta-9 THC are much milder with Delta-8, and users don’t experience nearly the intense scope of anxiety, paranoia, personality issues, etc., as is common with regular marijuana.

What Does Delta-8 THC Feel Like?

Since the euphoric sensation is a bit more mild with Delta-8 than what you might experience with Delta-9 THC, users often report a clearer mind and more energetic mood when consuming Delta-8. Many of the less desirable effects of THC, like paranoia and anxiety, are also reduced, making Delta-8 the clear choice for those seeking a middle ground effect between CBD and THC.

Unlike CBD which only has medicinal uses, Delta-8 THC can be used both medicinally and recreationally thanks to its subtle psychoactive effects.

Our Favorite Delta-8 THC Products of 2021:

We are loving BudVault’s latest selection of pure Delta-8 THC buds and edibles. Not only do they offer a broad catalog of Delta-8 products, but you really can’t beat their monthly deals and special freebie giveaways.

  • BudVault offers a FREE 4g hemp flower or Space Cowboy Delta-8 with any flower purchase. They are also running a promo on Delta-8 edibles, offering a generous sample pack of gummies with any gummy purchase. And yes, you can combine both offers!

Delta-8 THC vs. CBD

Structure-wise, Delta-8 THC shares more in common with Delta-9 THC than it does with CBD. Although CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, it doesn’t have the same effect on the brain’s CB1 and CB2 neuroreceptors (the receptors responsible for delivering psychoactive effects) as its THC counterparts.

Here’s a quick comparison of the differences between Delta-8 THC and CBD:


  • Non psychoactive
  • Works with CB1 receptors
  • Found in high concentrations in the hemp plant
  • Mainly used medicinally (few recreational benefits)
  • Low probability of CBD showing up on drug test

Delta-8 THC:

  • Could show up on a drug test
  • Mellow psychoactive properties
  • Can be used both medicinally and recreationally
  • Much rarer than CBD, very small concentration naturally occurring in hemp plant
  • Works on CB1 and CBD2 receptors

As you have probably gathered, comparing CBD to Delta-8 THC is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, they are both derived from the hemp plant and are both federally legal, but that is where the major similarities end. If you are reluctant to try Delta-8 because you don’t want “more of the same,” we highly recommend that you give it a try, as it is a whole different animal than CBD or hemp.

How does Delta-8 THC work?

Structurally, Delta-8 THC closely resembles that of a naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter in the brain called anadamine. Anandamide can affect areas of the brain that impact everything from pleasure and sensory perception, to memory, thinking, and concentration. Since Delta-8 THC is so structurally similar to anandamide, it can stick to and activate the cannabinoid receptors of the brain responsible for these various mental and motor functions.

Best Delta-8 Edibles and Gummies:

BudVault offers an excellent selection of Delta-8 edibles, including their entire line of best-selling 25mg gummies in various flavors and varieties.

Watermelon Rush 1500mg (25mg each) Delta-8 THC Chews:

This tried and true fruit chew has been around for a minute, and ever since we first tried it last December, it’s remained at the top of our list in terms of all-around favorite Delta-8 gummies available online.

First of all, the flavor is just fantastic. Not only is it a watermelon lover’s paradise, but the unmistakable gassy hit of diesel that emerges from the juicy core is a nice little preview for the happy and otherworldly times ahead. We love Watermelon Rush’s ability to target the areas that need it most, and the heady effect this edible delivers makes it one of the best on the market today. Not too much, but certainly not too little, you will feel the unmistakable effects of Delta-8 tingling up your spine within about 20 minutes of consumption. Not only is the onset quick and powerful, but the positive effects and mood-boosting properties seem to linger for hours after dosing – much longer than a lot of the competition out there today.

Rosé Kushy Bears 1500mg (25mg each) Delta-8 THC Gummies:

We also can’t get enough of this delicious new offering from BudVault, and we highly recommend at the very least grabbing the Rosé Kushy Bears one as your freebie – as we noticed a bit of a difference in effect between the varieties that we appreciated when comparing these bears with the other options.

We describe this gummy as “mellow and stable” – the ideal dose for when you need a reliable pick me up, but aren’t prepared to go to outer space or get stuck in a couch-lock just yet. (For a headier and more powerful effect, we suggest the Hazy Peach Rings, which is one of our favorite 1000mg Delta-8 edibles available online for those times we need a heavier hit of relaxational effects.)

Final Thoughts after Trying Delta-8 THC for 1 Month:

Delta-8 THC is a total game-changer. What started as an experiment of curiosity turned into a new obsession, and our whole team of cannabis enthusiasts was blown away by the efficacy of this budding new cannabinoid.

Not only did these Delta-8 THC edibles and hemp flowers pack a major punch, but they also “scratched the itch” of weed without bogging any of our testers down.

Here are a few of our testers’ notes after completing their 1 month of Delta-8 experiment:

  • “I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to try this! I had no idea it would actually feel like something, and I really had no idea that I would end up liking it more than weed! Mind blown!”
  • Audrey (San Francisco)
  • “This can’t be compared to CBD. If you need to compare Delta-8 to something it’s definitely Delta-9. I loved the effect and really appreciated the lack of paranoia (which is the main reason I actively avoid regular THC now.) Great substitute for the real thing!
  • Nicholas (San Francisco)
  • Great stuff! My husband and I were both blown away by the Watermelon Rush and Kushy Bear gummies we tried. They were incredibly strong and the effect hit us fast, but we never felt the dreaded “too much” anxious feeling that often accompanies regular weed edibles for the both of us.
  • Margo (Austin, Texas)


Jun. 4, 2021 12:00 a.m.