Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 4:40 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Tue Feb 9, 2016.
By Eric Voddenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries are governed by a sometimes-confusing smorgasbord of rules and regulations that differ from county to county and city to city.
Now there are four pieces of approved state legislation to add to the mix, including a cleanup bill signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown that makes corrections to the earlier-approved bills.
Add to that the prospect of multiple statewide ballot initiatives in November and the result is a lot of uncertainty over the future of medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries, locally and statewide.
Thus far, state bills have left intact the ability of cities and counties to enact ordinances regulating marijuana cultivation and dispensaries. Approved state legislation reflects more of a collaborative effort between the state and local entities than one that is in conflict.
"This legislation does not affect locals' ability to regulate cultivation and includes the right for locals to enact outright bans," said Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake. "They can outlaw dispensaries, which is a land-use decision."
The gist of state legislation is to create a licensing system to regulate personal grows and dispensaries. Most notably, it establishes a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation within the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
The new bureau will have authority to issue state licenses, conduct and regulate investigations, impose fines and penalties, and collect fees over and above what is collected locally. There are requirements on various state agencies to develop licensing, pesticide, production and water diversion standards.
"But first growers have to meet the local regulations, and if the locals say they can't do it, they can't do it," Gallagher said.
Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.