A sudden measure to resolve a legislative drafting mistake had local governments in The Golden State rushing to prohibit medical cannabis growth gained Governor Jerry Brown’s signature this week. The measure, AB21, by Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood of Healdsburg, adds to the medical cannabis laws the California Legislature allowed in September to get rid of a paragraph giving the state alone the ability to license marijuana cultivators in areas that did not have laws passed by March 1 specifically allowing or prohibiting farming.
Scaring of losing their ability to put forth policy in the state, various cities chose to prohibit all commercial pot cultivation within their borders during the last couple of months. Some also banned registered medical cannabis users from cultivating their own marijuana. Many more were set to think about the problem over the next month or so. The deadline ended up on the final regulations passed in the last minutes of the last legislative session by accident, according to Wood. Nearby officials now have a ton of time to choose how they feel about the issue because California is likely going to begin licensing commercial cannabis farms in 2018, he added.
“Now that we have given local officials the time to take a thoughtful approach to regulating medical marijuana, I hope they will maximize that time by engaging with the public and having thorough discussions,” Wood stated.
Albeit medical cannabis has been allowed in California for about two decades, lawmakers supported only in 2015 an outline that sets California’s licensing and operating rules for cannabis outlets, product manufacturers, farmers and every other part of the growing cannabis industry. The California departments of agriculture, health and consumer affairs are beginning to come up with rules that those licensed will be required to follow. As that is happening, voters will need to think of a ballot initiative in November that would also legalize recreational pot sales to adults 21 or older.