Guide to Cannabis Transportation

Type 11 distributors, microbusinesses or type 13 transport-only distributors are the only licensees that may engage in transportation between licensees, with the exception of transport only distributors who cannot transport cannabis goods to the premises of a retailer, except for when the licensee is transporting only immature plants and seeds from a licensed nursery to a licensed retailer or microbusiness. 

Producers may also get a type 13 transport only self-distribution license to transport their products to other producers as long as they are transporting only their own products.

In this guide we list out some regulations and points to be mindful of as you engage in transportation. Please note that this list isn't exhaustive and is irrespective of the transactional nature of the business dealings between the licensees engage in transport, meaning that it does not matter whether the goods are being sold or given on consignment or any other arrangement. Please consult with your compliance and accounting expert(s) to ensure that your SOPs comply with tax guidelines mandated by the CDTFA.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

The following requirements apply when transporting cannabis goods between licensees or licensed premises:

  1. Transportation shall only be conducted by persons holding a distributor license under the Act, or employees of those persons. 
  2. All vehicles transporting cannabis goods for hire shall be required to have a motor carrier permit pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 34620) of Division 14.85 of the Vehicle Code.
  3. Transportation by means of aircraft, watercraft, drone, rail, human powered vehicle, and unmanned vehicle is prohibited.
  4. Cannabis goods shall only be transported inside of a vehicle or trailer and shall not be visible or identifiable from outside of the vehicle or trailer.
  5. Cannabis goods shall be locked in a box, container, or cage that is secured to the inside of the vehicle or trailer. For purposes of this section, the inside of the vehicle includes the trunk.
  6. Non-edible cannabis products that do not meet the THC limits per package specified by the State Department of Public Health in regulation may be transported and sold.
  7. A distributor may transport and an M-designated retailer may sell medicinal edible cannabis products that contain 10 milligrams of THC or less per serving regardless of the THC amount in the package. 
  8. While left unattended, vehicles and trailers shall be locked and secured.
  9. A licensed distributor shall not leave a vehicle or trailer containing cannabis goods unattended in a residential area or parked overnight in a residential area.
  10. At a minimum, a licensed distributor shall have a vehicle alarm system on all transport vehicles and trailers. Motion detectors, pressure switches, duress, panic, and hold-up alarms may also be used.
  11. Packages or containers holding cannabis goods shall not be tampered with, or opened, during transport.
  12. A licensed distributor transporting cannabis goods shall only travel between licensees shipping or receiving cannabis goods and its own licensed premises when engaged in the transportation of cannabis goods. The licensed distributor may transport multiple shipments of cannabis goods at once in accordance with applicable laws. A licensed distributor shall not deviate from the travel requirements described in this section, except for necessary rest, fuel, or vehicle repair stops.
  13. Under no circumstances may non-cannabis goods, except for cannabis accessories and licensees’ branded merchandise or promotional materials be transported with cannabis goods.
  14. Vehicles and trailers transporting cannabis goods are subject to inspection by the Bureau at any licensed premises or during transport at any time.
  15. If it is not operationally feasible to transport cannabis goods inside of a vehicle or trailer because the licensed premises that the cannabis goods will be transported from and the licensed premises that will be receiving the cannabis goods are located within the same building or on the same parcel of land, the cannabis goods may be transported by foot, hand truck, fork-lift, or other similar means. A shipping manifest that complies with this division is required when transporting cannabis goods pursuant to this subsection.

REFERENCE: Authority: Section 26013, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 26070, Business and Professions Code.

Required Transport Vehicle Information

In addition, any licensed distributor who will be or is transporting cannabis goods shall provide the following information to the Bureau:

  1. Proof that the licensed distributor owns or holds a valid lease for each vehicle and trailer used to transport cannabis goods;
  2. The year, make, model, license plate number, and numerical Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for each vehicle and trailer used to transport cannabis goods; and
  3. Proof of insurance for each vehicle and trailer used to transport cannabis goods.
  4. The licensed distributor shall provide the Bureau with the information required by this section in writing for any new vehicle or trailer that will be used to transport cannabis goods prior to using the vehicle or trailer to transport cannabis goods.
  5. T he licensed distributor shall provide the Bureau with any changes to the information required by this section in writing within 30 calendar days.

REFERENCE: Authority: Section 26013, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 26070, Business and Professions Code.

Transport Personnel Requirements

  1. No person under the age of 21 years old shall be in a commercial vehicle or trailer transporting cannabis goods; and
  2. O nly a licensee, an employee of the licensed distributor, or security personnel that meets the requirements of section 5045 of this division, shall be in a vehicle while transporting cannabis goods.

REFERENCE: Authority: Section 26013, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 26070, Business and Professions Code.

Shipping Manifest

  1. Prior to transporting cannabis goods, a licensed distributor shall generate a shipping manifest through the track and trace system for the following activities:
    1. Testing and sampling
    2. Sale of cannabis goods to a licensee
    3. Destruction or disposal of cannabis goods
    4. Any other activity, as required pursuant to this division, or by any other licensing authority
  2. The licensed distributor shall transmit the shipping manifest to the Bureau and the licensee that will receive the cannabis goods prior to transporting the cannabis goods. This can be done by email.
  3. The licensed distributor shall ensure and verify that the cannabis goods being taken into possession for transport at the originating licensed premises are as described and accurately reflected in the shipping manifest. For purposes of this section, the licensed distributor may verify that the cannabis goods are accurately reflected in the shipping manifest by confirming that the number of boxes of cannabis goods, type of cannabis goods, weight and or units of cannabis goods, matches the label on the boxes containing the cannabis goods.
  4. The licensed distributor shall not take into possession or transport any cannabis goods that are not on the shipping manifest; or any cannabis goods that are less than or greater than the amount reflected on the shipping manifest.
  5. The licensed distributor is responsible for any discrepancies between the shipping manifest and the cannabis goods in its possession during transport, and subject to any enforcement or disciplinary action related to such discrepancy.
  6. A licensed distributor shall not void or change a shipping manifest after departing from the originating licensed premises.
  7. A shipping manifest shall accompany every transport of cannabis goods.

Track and Trace Requirements

Once a licensee gains access to METRC, the following will also apply:

  1. A shipping manifest, printed from METRC, shall accompany every transport of cannabis goods.
  2. Notwithstanding the previous section, if a distributor has NOT obtained access to the track and trace system, the distributor shall complete the shipping manifest outside of the track and trace system and transmit it to the Bureau and the licensee receiving the shipment by electronic mail. 
  3. If the transporting distributor has access to the track and trace system and the licensee receiving the shipment has not obtained access to the track and trace system, the distributor shall complete the shipping manifest in the track and trace system and transmit it to the Bureau as well as the licensee that will receive the cannabis goods prior to transporting the cannabis goods. 
  4. The distributor shall ensure and verify that the cannabis goods being taken into possession for transport at the originating licensed premises are as described and accurately reflected in the shipping manifest.
  5. The distributor shall not take into possession or transport.
  6. Any cannabis goods that are not on the shipping manifest.
  7. Any cannabis goods that are less than or greater than the amount reflected on the shipping manifest.

Shipping manifest must be generated in the track and trace system and must include:

  1. The name, license number, and premises address of the originating licensee.
  2. The name, license number, and premises address of the licensee transporting the cannabis goods.
  3. The name, licensee number, and premises address of the destination licensee receiving the cannabis goods into inventory or storage.
  4. The date and time of departure from the licensed premises and approximate date and time of departure from each subsequent licensed premises, if any.
  5. Arrival date and estimated time of arrival at each licensed premises.
  6. Driver’s license number of the personnel transporting the cannabis goods, and the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle used for transport.

It is unclear when the track and trace system will be enforced. We will nonetheless try to keep this section updated with as much information as we can regarding transportation.