Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Glossary

1. What is the Cannabis Control Appeals Panel (“CCAP” or “Panel”) and what does it do?

CCAP hears and decides appeals regarding decisions made by one of the three state cannabis licensing agencies – the Bureau of Cannabis Control (housed within the Department of Consumer Affairs), CalCannabis (housed within the Department of Food and Agriculture), and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (housed within the Department of Public Health) – against license applicants or licensees.

The Panel consists of five members, three of which are appointed by the Governor, one by the Senate Committee on Rules, and one by the Speaker of the Assembly. Each member must reside in a different California county.

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2. What type of evidence will CCAP rely on when deciding on appeals?

The Panel provides “quasi-judicial administrative review”, which is different from a typical court proceeding. This means, among other things, the Panel will determine appeals based only on the underlying administrative record of the relevant licensing agency’s decision. No additional evidence may be received by the Panel. However, the parties to appeals may present oral argument and file briefs in support of their position.

Please note that neither oral argument nor briefs may mention or introduce evidence that is different from or in addition to what is already contained in the administrative record. This includes captioning or otherwise adding commentary to evidence in the record.

Authorities:

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3. What are CCAP’s governing laws and regulations?

California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 43, Rules 6000-6018

Business and Professions Code, Division 10, Chapter 4

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4. Who may file appeals with CCAP?

A license applicant or licensee who disagrees with a final decision by one of the three licensing agencies (after an administrative hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings) regarding their license application or existing license may appeal to CCAP.

The kinds of decisions that may be appealed include, but are not limited to, denial of a license application, denial of a license renewal, or a disciplinary action suspending, revoking, or placing conditions on an existing license.

Authority: B&P Section 26043(a)

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5. What is the scope of CCAP’s review on appeal?

When reviewing the decision of a cannabis licensing agency, the Panel may only consider the following questions:

  • Whether the licensing agency has proceeded without or beyond its jurisdiction.
  • Whether the agency proceeded in the manner required by law.
  • Whether the agency’s decision is supported by the findings.
  • Whether the findings are supported by substantial evidence based on the whole record.

NOTE: The Panel may not reconsider findings of fact because “the findings and conclusions of the licensing authority on questions of fact are conclusive and final and are not subject to review.”

Authority:

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6. Where can I ask general questions or get case updates?

For general questions, email info@ccap.ca.gov or call (916) 322-6870. Parties inquiring about the status of an appeal should contact CCAP staff at appeals@ccap.ca.gov.

While CCAP may answer questions relating to ongoing cases or provide general information, it cannot offer legal advice or referrals.

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7. How do I find CCAP’s previous decisions?

CCAP’s previous decisions are available on its website:

https://www.ccap.ca.gov/decisions/index.html

NOTE: CCAP decisions have no precedential effect on the three licensing agencies.

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8. Do I need an attorney to represent me?

Though not required, individual licensees may choose to employ the services of an attorney at their own expense. The attorney must be an active member of the California State Bar.

A layperson or consultant may not represent a party before the Panel. Corporate licensees must be represented by an attorney.

Authority: Rule 6000(g)

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9. What if I need special accommodations?

CCAP may provide a court-certified interpreter for no charge if adequate time is provided. If interpretive services are required, please contact CCAP as soon as possible.

If you require disability-related accommodations (e.g. sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, wheelchair accessibility), please contact CCAP at (916) 322-6870 at least 10 days prior to the hearing so that the Panel has adequate time to make the necessary arrangements.

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10. Where can I download forms?

CCAP forms, including the Notice of Appeal (Form 6003), Certification of Email Address (Form 6005), and a Proof of Service are available on CCAP’s website:

https://www.ccap.ca.gov/forms/index.html

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11. Can a party request that a Panel member be disqualified from presiding over the appeal?

Yes, a party may request that a Panel member be disqualified. However, the requesting party must provide specific reasons, in writing, why that member cannot provide a fair and impartial judgment in the case. The written request must be filed before the Panel begins deliberations in the case.

The remaining Panel members will discuss the party’s concerns and determine if disqualification is appropriate. Please note that the Panel member will not be disqualified if it would prevent the Panel from reaching a decision on the case.

Authority: Rule 6012(a)

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12. How do I begin the appeals process with CCAP?

The process begins with the appellant filing CCAP Form 6003 – Notice of Appeal. This form is available on the CCAP website:

https://www.ccap.ca.gov/forms/index.html

NOTE: Form 6005 and the underlying complete Administrative Record are also required at the outset of the appeal.

Authority: Rule 6003(a)(1)

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13. Is there a time limit for filing the Notice of Appeal?

Yes. The Notice of Appeal must be received by the Panel within 30 days after the final day on which the licensing agency may reconsider its decision. Failure to file the Notice of Appeal by the deadline may result in a dismissal of the appeal.

Authority: Rule 6003(a)(2)

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14. Where and how should the Notice of Appeal be filed?

The Appellant may file the Notice of Appeal with the Panel in one of two ways:

  • By delivery or mail to the CCAP office:
    400 R Street, Suite 320
    Sacramento, CA 95811
  • By email to appeals@ccap.ca.gov

Additionally, Appellant must serve a copy of the Notice of Appeal to all parties to the matter. The parties may agree in writing to have the Notice served via email (please see FAQ #16(a)). Appellant should submit the Proof of Service to the Panel at the same time as the Notice of Appeal.

Authority: Rule 6003(a)

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15. How will the parties know that the appeal has been filed?

Once the Notice of Appeal has been filed with the Panel and served on all other parties, CCAP will notify the parties that the case is active and provide parties with a case number.

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16. Besides the Notice of Appeal, what other initial documents am I required to provide?

The Panel requires two additional sets of documents before the appeal can proceed.

a. CCAP Form 6005 – Certification of Email Address

Appellant: Along with the Notice of Appeal (Form 6003), you must submit a Certification of Email Address (Form 6005) to the Panel. Your Certification should be submitted in the same manner and at the same time as your Notice of Appeal (see FAQ #14). Form 6005 is available at:

https://www.ccap.ca.gov/forms/index.html

Other Parties: Other parties to an appeal have 30 days to submit the Certification of Email Address from the date when they receive a copy of the Notice of Appeal from the appellant. Each party must (1) file its own Certification with the Panel and (2) serve its Certification on all other parties, including the appellant.

Once all parties have submitted a completed Certification (and unless otherwise agreed or instructed):

  • Parties may serve relevant documents to one another via email.
  • The Panel and its Executive Director may send documents and all other communications to all parties via email.
  • Parties may submit relevant documentation to the Panel via email at appeals@ccap.ca.gov.

Authority: Rule 6005

b. The complete administrative record of the underlying hearing

Appellant must also provide one hardcopy and one electronic copy of the complete administrative record of the underlying hearing. The hardcopy should be mailed or delivered to the CCAP office:

400 R Street, Suite 320
Sacramento, CA 95811

The electronic copy should be emailed to appeals@ccap.ca.gov. A copy of the complete administrative record must also be served on all parties pursuant to their preference listed on Form 6005.

Appellants have 60 days from the date of filing the Notice of Appeal with the Panel to file the record with CCAP. If the administrative record is not submitted within 60 days, the appeal may be dismissed.

Authority: Rule 6004

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17. Can Appellant’s license remain active while the Panel is considering the appeal?

Possibly. If the license renewal has been denied or an existing license has been cancelled, suspended or revoked, an Appellant may request that the Panel temporarily prevent the licensing agency’s decision from going into effect while the Panel considers the appeal. The Appellant (or its attorney) may make this request by filing a “ Motion to Stay” the effect of the licensing agency’s decision.

A Motion to Stay may be granted only if:

  • There is a substantial likelihood that the appellant will prevail in the appeal;
  • Appellant will experience immediate and irreparable harm if the stay is not granted; and,
  • The stay is not detrimental to the health and welfare of the public.

In order to ensure full compliance with all the requirements for filing motions, please refer directly to California Code of Regulations, title 16, Rule 6010.

Authorities:

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18. Can the parties to the appeal submit documents in support of their position?

Yes. The appellant may file an opening brief, but is not required to do so. The opening brief should explain in clear language why the licensing agency’s decision was wrong. The opening brief may refer only to evidence and documents included in the administrative record.

If an opening brief is filed, an opposing party may then file its opposition brief in response. The appellant may then conclude this exchange by filing a reply brief. Please note that all briefs filed by any party are subject to strict requirements, including how to format them and the way they are served on the Panel and other parties.

In order to ensure full compliance with all the requirements, please refer directly to California Code of Regulations, title 16, Rule 6006.

Authority: Rule 6006

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19. What are the deadlines for filing briefs?

The opening brief must be filed within 30 days of the date the administrative record was served on the Panel and parties.

The opposition brief must be filed within 15 days of the date the opening brief was served.

The reply brief must be filed within 7 days of the date the opposition brief was served.

Authority: Rule 6006(e)

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20. What happens after the notice of appeal, administrative record, and all briefs have been filed?

Once the Panel has reviewed the administrative record and all briefs, CCAP’s Executive Director (“Director”) will notify the parties that the Panel has reached a preliminary decision.

From this point, any party may submit a written request for a hearing within 20 days.

Authority: Rule 6007(a)

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21. Is a hearing required?

If no party requests a hearing before the Panel, then no oral argument will take place (unless the Panel itself orders a hearing). If the Panel orders a hearing, the parties or their attorneys must appear for oral argument.

Authority: Rule 6007(b)

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22. What happens if a hearing is requested by a party or directed by the Panel to take place?

The Director will set a hearing date and location, and a notice will be sent to all parties.

Authority: Rule 6007(c)

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23. What happens at the hearing?

A hearing is a chance for a party to argue for its position and desired outcome. A typical hearing will proceed as follows:

  • The Panel will call the case and go over the hearing procedures.
  • The appellant (or its attorney) will present an opening statement explaining why the licensing agency’s decision was wrong.
  • The licensing agency will respond.
  • The appellant (or its attorney) may respond with a closing statement.
  • After oral argument, Panel members may ask questions of any party.
  • The Panel will close the record and conclude the hearing.

Please note the following rules:

  • Each party will have a maximum of 20 minutes for oral argument.
  • Each party may choose only one person speak on its behalf.
  • The appellant can present both an opening and closing statement, but both statements will count towards the 20-minute time limit.
  • No party shall refer to any evidence or information outside the administrative record.
  • Questions from the Panel, and any answers, will not count towards the 20-minute time limit.

Authority: Rule 6008

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24. What should parties bring to the hearing?

Given the limited scope of the Panel’s review, parties should bring only the following documents to the oral hearing:

  • A copy of the administrative record.
  • A copy of any and all briefs filed with the Panel by any of the parties.
  • Notes or script for oral arguments.
  • Notepad and writing utensil to take notes with.

Please note that no party may present the Panel with any documents that supply new information, or information beyond what is contained in the administrative record.

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25. Who will be present at the hearing?

The following persons will typically be present at a Panel hearing:

  • Panel members.
  • Panel attorneys and/or staff.
  • All parties to the matter and their attorneys, if any.
  • Certified interpreters or other required individuals.

Please note that Panel hearings are open to the public. There may be additional individuals present who are not participating in a hearing.

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26. Are witnesses allowed to testify at the hearing?

No. Parties will not be permitted to call a witness since they may not refer to any evidence outside the complete administrative record already provided to the Panel and other parties. This includes witnesses and their testimony. However, hearings are open to the public and anyone may attend.

Authorities:

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27. Can the time and/or place of the hearing be changed?

Yes. A party may request a continuance and/or location change for good cause only. The request should be in writing. For more information, please see California Code of Regulations, title 16, Rule 6007(d).

Authority: Rule 6007(d)

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28. Will my hearing be taped or recorded?

Since Panel hearings are public, they may be taped or recorded. However, any transcription or recording made of a hearing will not become part of the record in the matter.

Additionally, any party wishing to tape, transcribe, or otherwise record the hearing must do so at their own expense. CCAP will not provide these services.

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29. What if I cannot attend the hearing?

If you are unable to attend the hearing in person, you may file a motion to participate in the oral argument telephonically. Refer to California Code of Regulations, title 16, Rule 6010.

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30. What are the potential outcomes of a case appealed to CCAP?

There are four ways that an appeal may conclude:

  • The Panel affirms the licensing agency’s decision.
  • The Panel reverses the licensing agency’s decision.
  • The Panel dismisses the appeal (see FAQs #31-32).
  • The Panel remands the matter back to the licensing agency for reconsideration (see FAQ #33).

Authority: B&P Section 26044

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31. Can CCAP help the parties to the appeal reach a settlement?

The Panel cannot assist the parties to reach a settlement. Appellant (or appellant’s attorney) must discuss any settlement directly with the licensing agency.

However, if all parties to a case stipulate that a settlement has been reached, the Panel will dismiss the case.

Authority: Rule 6015

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32. Why did CCAP dismiss the appeal?

Potential reasons why a case before CCAP may be dismissed:

  • Upon appellant’s request.
  • Failure to comply with procedural requirements (e.g. untimely Notice of Appeal).
  • The licensing agency has certified that it is reconsidering its decision in the case.
  • The parties have reached a settlement.
  • For other sufficient cause.

Authorities:

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33. What happens if new and important evidence is discovered after the appeal has been filed?

If the Appellant believes it has discovered new relevant evidence, Appellant may file a motion with the Panel to remand the case back to the original licensing agency for reconsideration. In support of its motion, Appellant must submit a written affidavit discussing each of the following:

  • The nature and substance of the newly discovered evidence.
  • Why the new evidence is relevant and what part of the record it relates to.
  • The names of any new witnesses and their expected testimony.
  • The nature of exhibits to be introduced.
  • A detailed statement explaining why, despite Appellant’s best efforts, the evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the hearing before the licensing agency.

Authority: Rule 6009

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34. When will the final decision be made in the appeal?

The Panel will enter its final order within 90 days of the hearing, or, if no hearing was held, within 90 days of when a preliminary decision was noticed.

Authority: Rule 6016(a)

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35. Will the decision on my case be made public?

Yes. All final Panel decisions are publicly available on the CCAP website:

https://www.ccap.ca.gov/decisions/index.html.

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36. How ‘final’ are CCAP’s decisions?

By law, the Panel cannot change its decision. Once copies of the Panel’s final decision have been provided to the parties, the Panel cannot hold additional hearings, accept additional briefs, or otherwise reconsider the case.

Authority: Rule 6017

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37. What are the options if I disagree with CCAP’s final decision?

If a party disagrees with the Panel’s final decision, it may file a petition for writ of review with the California Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal.

The petition for review must be filed with the appropriate court. A party cannot file its petition through CCAP.

Authority: B&P Section 26045(b)

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38. Can I request deadline extensions?

There are two circumstances in which a party may file a motion for an extension:

  • The appellant may file a motion for an extension of time to submit the administrative record.
  • Any party to the appeal may move for an extension of time to submit its written brief.

The motion may only be granted if good cause for needing additional time is demonstrated.

In order to ensure full compliance with all the requirements for filing motions, please refer directly to California Code of Regulations, title 16, Rule 6010.

Authorities:

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39. Can I speak to the Panel privately about any matter in the appeal?

No. While the appeal is pending, there may not be “ex parte” communications about any issue in the matter. This means no private communications between a single party and the Panel about any matter in the appeal may take place without notice and opportunity for all other parties to participate in such communications.

Authority: Rule 6018

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40. Where can I find other information about cannabis and cannabis licensing?

California Cannabis Portal’s List of Resources

“The three state cannabis licensing authorities and other partnering state agencies have assembled miscellaneous fact sheets and documents as resources in an effort to provide education for industry stakeholders, licensees, and the general public on all things related to cannabis and commercial cannabis activity.”

The Bureau of Cannabis Control

“The Bureau of Cannabis Control is the lead agency in regulating commercial cannabis licenses for medical and adult-use cannabis in California. The Bureau is responsible for licensing retailers, distributors, testing laboratories, microbusinesses, and temporary cannabis events.”

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing – California Department of Food & Agriculture

“CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), ensures public safety and environmental protection by licensing and regulating commercial cannabis cultivators in California.”

Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch - California Department of Public Health

“The California Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) is one of three state licensing authorities charged with licensing and regulating commercial cannabis activity in California. MCSB is responsible for regulation of all commercial cannabis manufacturing in California.”

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