No matter how familiar you are with the cannabis industry, frameworks vary between different states. From medical markets to adult recreational markets, each legalized state now has their own regulatory body—some type of cannabis control commission (CCC), cannabis control board, or cannabis compliance agency—which is responsible for upholding regulations and requirements. Likewise, this means cannabis regulatory agencies are responsible for enforcing warnings, violations, and license suspensions when those rules aren’t upheld by individual cannabis licenses and companies.

Considering the power of these government regulatory agencies to disrupt operations, profits, and overall success, it’s important to get to know the groups better. Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about cannabis control agencies.

What is the Cannabis Control Commission?

Technically speaking, the Cannabis Control Commission is the given name to Massachusetts’ regulatory agency for the state’s legal medical and adult-use recreational cannabis program.

However, this term is now synonymous with all regulatory agencies coast-to-coast. Each state has their own version of a cannabis control commission that manages individual markets. For instance, Michigan’s cannabis control group is the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. Maine’s cannabis regulatory agency is known as the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy.

What does the cannabis control commission do?

Despite varying names, all cannabis control commissions serve one common purpose: implementing, administering, and enforcing adult recreational use or medical program regulations within their jurisdiction. This sentiment is summarized by the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts: “Our mission is to safely, equitably, and effectively implement and administer the laws enabling access to Medical and Adult Use Marijuana in the Commonwealth.”

What role do cannabis control commissions play in compliance?

Cannabis control commissions play a major role in industry compliance. They’re not only responsible for developing and administering regulations for businesses to remain in compliance, but enforcing them as well. For most states, the cannabis control commission control staff is in charge of the following duties:

  • Reviewing license applications
  • Denying applications and approving licenses
  • Inspecting cannabis business establishments
  • Assigning fees or fines
  • Conducting and ruling on adjudicatory proceedings
  • Referring cases to appropriate authorities for criminal prosecution
  • Amending, repealing or revising regulations

How do cannabis control commissions enforce compliance?

Cannabis control commissions enforce cannabis compliance with individual systems put into place that verifies, audits, and enforces the state’s unique regulations. These systems include checkpoints for product testing, inventory control, security, accuracy, safety amongst other key points of interest. As a result, many cannabis businesses have their own processes for maintaining compliance, such as deploying ProCanna’s cloud-based compliance software.

How do cannabis control commissions issue licenses?

Each state’s cannabis control commission has their own unique way of reviewing, approving, and issuing licenses. For the most part, license applications are available online and many states now operate a digital portal system for the collection of required documents throughout the application process. Typically, licenses are limited to a certain amount, meaning they are not always easily issued.

How are cannabis control commissions formed?

Cannabis control commissions and related regulatory agencies are formed by legislation drafted and passed by state lawmakers to legalize adult recreational and/or medical use markets.

How are cannabis control officers appointed?

Again, the commissioners or cannabis control officers are appointed differently state by state. Generally, it’s up to state lawmakers to select and appoint board members or officers. For example, here are the requirements Massachusetts lawmakers use to appoint those to the Cannabis Control Commission:

(a) There shall be a Massachusetts cannabis control commission which shall consist of 5 commissioners: 1 of whom shall be appointed by the governor and shall have a background in public health, mental health, substance use or toxicology; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the attorney general and shall have a background in public safety; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the treasurer and receiver-general and shall have experience in corporate management, finance or securities; and 2 of whom shall be appointed by a majority vote of the governor, attorney general and treasurer and receiver-general, 1 of whom shall have professional experience in oversight or industry management, including commodities, production or distribution in a regulated industry and 1 of whom shall have a background in legal, policy or social justice issues related to a regulated industry.”

How are cannabis control boards chosen?

Most cannabis control commissions operate with a cannabis control board, or cannabis advisory board. The way that this board is chosen varies from state to state, but is often formed by individual appointees. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissions’ cannabis advisory board consists of 25 members, including the following:

  • Five appointees by the Governor
  • Five appointees by the Treasurer and Receiver General
  • Five appointees by the Attorney General
  • 10 ex officio members with expertise and knowledge relevant to the Board’s mission

The number of members on cannabis control boards will also vary depending on the state. In New York, where an adult-use recreational market is just taking shape the state’s Cannabis Advisory Board will include 13 members: seven appointed by the governor and three members appointed by both the Senate and Assembly.

Digitizing Data for cannabis regulatory success

In the cannabis industry, there’s no way to cheat cannabis control commissions. However, there is a way you can improve your relationship and become successful at meeting the state’s unique individual requirements. The implementation of technology helps cannabis businesses streamline compliance processes, stay up to date with regulatory changes, and be prepared with trackable data when a cannabis control commission inspection comes up.

Are you seeking a turn key solution to maintain compliance? Look no further than ProCanna, the cloud-based and mobile-friendly software that’s designed by industry leaders for industry leaders. Schedule a demo today!