Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Off On Rules That Would Regulate MMJ Industry

By Keri Blakinger 10/15/15

Meanwhile, California voters will be looking at several new cannabis-related ballot initiatives next year.

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Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a set of bills that could regulate medical cannabis, if voters give it the final go-ahead.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the actions would help address the conflict between law enforcement and the pot industry, and include things like creating a path for licensing, opening a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, and implementing a fee schedule to fund the bureau’s work. The actions would not be fully implemented until 2018.

As is currently the case, cities and counties will be able to create additional local ordinances to limit, or tax, dispensaries.

One of the new laws will make pot an agricultural product so that it’s governed by the same insecticide and water use regulations as other agricultural products.

“This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system," Brown said in a statement. "This sends a clear and certain signal to our federal counterparts that California is implementing robust controls not only on paper, but in practice.”

Surprisingly, even growers seem to be onboard with the possible changes. Ata Gonzalez, who runs G FarmaLabs, told the Los Angeles Times, “Personally, I don't believe anyone will ever be 100% happy with the way these regulations were going to be written, but I have to tell you, [our firm] appreciates this well-thought-out set of guidelines.”

Similarly, California Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Nate Bradley praised the move, saying, “Gov. Brown and his colleagues in the legislature have just given the green light to let California's cannabis industry become the thriving, taxpaying, job-creating industry it was always destined to become.”

Currently, there are 1,250 dispensaries in the Golden State.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.