Likely Marijuana Legalization Has CA Lawmakers Scrambling

Marijuana legalization will understandably be a hot button issue in the upcoming 2016 Presidential election, and here in California it will be no different.

For nearly two decades the states medical marijuana industry has grown exponentially. Now that it is becoming more evident that California voters will be asked to vote on a measure to legalize recreational marijuana use,  state lawmakers are scrambling to create regulations that before did not exist.

Two bills pending in the California Legislature would create the first statewide regulations for medical marijuana growers, manufacturers of pot-infused products and “distributors” such as brick and mortar dispensaries and delivery services.

California first authorized marijuana for medical use in 1996, at a time when marijuana began to resurface within the national dialogue after increasing evidence began to surface of its potential health components.  However the measure left it up to the discretion of a doctor of what ailment sufficed for marijuana use, allowing many to benefit from “pop-up” clinics that offered marijuana recommendations for anything from a headache to doldrums.  Specifics regarding how it should be produced and sold were not considered.

With advocates now working to qualify recreational-use initiatives for the November 2016 ballot, these specifics will now get the states attention.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the state Assembly last month approved a comprehensive licensing and oversight scheme on a bipartisan 62-8 vote. A compromise measure to create the Governor’s Office of Medical Cannabis Regulation, AB 266, is endorsed by both the California Cannabis Industry Association and the California Police Chiefs Association, two crucial components that determine marijuana policy within the state.

 “There is real potential a legalization initiative will set the tone for regulation and taxation, and if the Legislature wants to be involved, now is the time.”said Natasha Minsker, who directs the ACLU of California’s advocacy office in Sacramento.
There will be many issues that will arise during the legalization campaign, from excessive water and electricity use, drugged driving to questions ranging from consumer protection and who qualifies for opening a marijuana business.
A bill by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, requires numerous state agencies to flesh out and enforce a regulatory framework by 2018.

The California Highway Patrol would create ways to determine if someone was driving high, while  the Department of Public Health would come up with rules and regulations for testing marijuana products for potency and toxic chemicals. They would also determine if those with felony records would be able to grow, sell, or transport marijuana.

However the end game is Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has expressed skepticism about the wisdom of legalizing recreational marijuana use. He has not yet indicated if he would sign the medical marijuana legislation when, if ever, it reaches his desk.

Petey Wheatstraw Aug 30, 2015 @ 09:45

Petey Wheatstraw

My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I'm an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion-- not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I've lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities. Click Here for Free Cannabis