The California Legislature recently has acted swiftly to approve a bill that fixes an error in California’s groundbreaking therapeutic cannabis laws approved in 2015. AB21 gets rid of a provision that lawmakers accidentally did not omit from the legislation that stated that cities and counties were required to make their own medical cannabis regulations by March 1st, or the state would take on the responsibility. There was not supposed to be a deadline in the released bill.

The deadline, though, results in local governments in turmoil at the thought that they would no longer have control over medical cannabis restrictions. Also, many cities got rid of marijuana farming altogether. On Thursday, the Assembly passed AB21 in a 65-0 vote following the Senate passing in this week35-3. It is now on its way to Governor Jerry Brown, who is being pressured to approve it.

“My concern with the March 1 deadline was that these bans were happening without input from communities and stakeholders,” Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, who wrote AB21 and sections of 2015’s medical cannabis laws, which were made to give more structure for California’s unrestricted billion-dollar industry.

Twenty years ago, California approved of medical marijuana and became the firs state ever to do so. But it was not regulated very well, even when the industry began to grow. In 2015, the Legislature ended up compromising with Brown, which led to a deal that became law. The law had stated and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses under the recent Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation.

The bills specify that medical marijuana is a farm product, which means that farmers have to follow the same regulations as farmers when it comes to the use of pesticides and such. California’s regulation of medical marijuana could take a toll on how voters perceive allowing recreational legalization for adults. Pot activists are currently collecting signatures for an initiative they expect to be on the November ballot.


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