Since cannabis is now legal in California, it’s a common myth that you can transport cannabis for sale at any time without meeting any special requirements.
But just because it’s now legal in California, doesn’t mean you have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. There are still rules and regulations in place and special requirements that must be met to avoid penalties for illegal use. People often overlook that this includes what you can and cannot do as an employee or transporter of a licensed distributor of cannabis.
The only exceptions are:
- The transportation of marijuana by California medical marijuana users for their personal use.
- Primary caregivers for medical marijuana users who may also transport marijuana and give it to their patients.
Discover the mistakes you might be making when transporting cannabis for sale and avoid getting ticketed or other disciplinary actions.
Mistake #1: Failure to carry the right licenses
Anyone transporting cannabis for sale must hold a distributor license or be an employee or contractor of a licensed distributor.
If you’re a person or a business that’s paid to transport property – that now includes cannabis goods in California – in their motor vehicle regardless of vehicle size, type, or weight, you must also have a motor carrier permit. In other words, if you’re transporting property and getting paid for it, then you’re a “for-hire” motor carrier.
Although you can legally possess cannabis for adult personal use if you’re over 21, it’s illegal for you to sell or transport it without a license. You can give away up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis to a person 21 or older, but you cannot receive money or any form of compensation. To sell cannabis, you need a license from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.
Find out more about licensing here.
Mistake #2: Failure to keep the cannabis stored, secured and separated
As a transporter, cannabis goods must only be accessible by the licensee, their employees and contractors. Cannabis goods are also only allowed to be transported inside of a vehicle or trailer and can’t be visible or identifiable from outside of the vehicle or trailer.
Any time left unattended, vehicles and trailers must be locked and secured. Let’s say you stop to get gas or take a bathroom break. Not only must the vehicle or trailer be locked, but the cannabis goods that are being transported must be stored in a locked box, container or cage that is secured to the inside of the vehicle or trailer. The locked container also has to be separate from the body of the vehicle or trailer. So, the glove compartment, center console, or spare tire storage is out of the question.
At a minimum, a distributor must also have a vehicle alarm system on all transport vehicles and trailers transporting the cannabis goods. Motion detectors, pressure switches, duress, panic, and hold-up alarms may also be used. If this sounds like you’re only real option is hiring an armored car, you might be surprised to know you have secure transport options.
Also, a distributor can’t leave a vehicle or trailer containing cannabis goods unattended in a residential area or parked overnight in a residential area.
It’s important to note that, if you’re only using cannabis for adult personal/recreational use, you can carry up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis with you; but having an open container of cannabis in a vehicle while driving or riding in the passenger seat is against the law. If you have cannabis in a vehicle, it must be in an approved sealed package or container. Otherwise, it must be kept in the trunk of the vehicle.
Mistake #3: Driving under the radar
If you’re driving a vehicle that’s being used to transport and deliver cannabis goods, it must have a Global Positioning System (GPS) device so the geographical location of the delivery can be identified at all times. This device must be owned by the licensee, active and inside the delivery vehicle at all times during the delivery and used for delivery purposes only.
It’s also illegal to take your cannabis across state lines, even if you’re traveling to another state where cannabis is legal.
Mistake #4: Forgetting to wear your ID badge
The licensee, anyone employed by the licensee or anyone acting on behalf of the licensee, must wear a laminated or plastic-coated identification badge whenever they are transporting cannabis goods. The ID badge must include the following:
- Licensee’s “doing business as” name and license number
- Employee’s first name
- Assigned employee number
- Color photograph of the employee
Also, it’s important to know that while transporting cannabis goods, only a licensee or an employee of the distributor, age 21 years or older, can be in the vehicle.
Mistake #5: Driving under the influence
You can’t get high just by transporting cannabis. However, it’s important to mention that even though you may just be “the middle man” so to speak as the transporter, and you don’t personally consume cannabis or cannabis goods, if you’re under the influence of cannabis while operating a car, boat, or other vehicle, a law enforcement officer can pull you over and conduct a sobriety test. If you drive while you’re high, you can get a DUI, as well as risk your life and the lives of those around you.
Transporting cannabis products safely and legally is critical to the success of your business. With the new California regulations in place, secure transport is crucial to stay compliant and avoid getting ticketed – or even worse – losing your license.
You should be able to transport your products with confidence, not worrying about the proverbial “lights in your rear-view mirror.”
*To see the full description of compliance requirements review the California Code of Regulations to make sure the transportation of your cannabis product is being done safely and legally.
Nor Cal Vans designs and builds transportation solutions that change people’s lives. We offer new and used [secure transport van conversion options for the safe and legal transport of your product]. We’ve been solving transportation needs for nearly four decades and strive to hold true to our values of teamwork, trust, accountability, growth and a positive attitude.