California’s New Medical Marijuana Czar Interviewed

A part of the recent legislation to regulate medical marijuana on a statewide level in California, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Lori Ajax as the head of the newly established Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. The head of this new agency is being called the medical marijuana czar.

ballot-box-1519379.jpgAjax recently gave an interview for the Los Angeles Times, during which she discussed some new developments and challenges in regulating medical marijuana on a statewide level. Ajax was previously the deputy chief of the Alcoholic Beverage Control agency in California before accepting her new role as medical marijuana czar. However, even her role at the new office is likely to change even more substantially if the voters pass a proposed ballot referendum that would legalize marijuana for recreational use as has already been done in Colorado and other states and the District of Columbia.

If the new law to legalize marijuana for recreational use is passed by the voters in November, the office of Medical Marijuana Regulation will become the Office of Marijuana Control. This future change to the new office was written into the legislation in anticipation of marijuana for recreational use becoming legal in California.

If marijuana were to become completely legal in California, the new agency would have the power to regulate the substance via the use of a $10 million loan from the state. The loan can be repaid via revenue made from the sale of legalized marijuana through taxation as well as any fines assessed by the agency for violations.

One of the things Ajax was asked as part of her interview was whether or not she believes that people have an actual or legitimate need for medical marijuana marijuana. This is a very important question because it addresses a very controversial issue. There are many opponents of medical marijuana in Los Angeles that argue that people are only using medical conditions as an excuse to use marijuana for recreational uses. While this will no longer be an issue if marijuana for recreational use in California is legalized, as our medical marijuana attorneys in Los Angeles have seen on a daily basis, the vast majority of medical marijuana patients are very much in need to medical cannabis to allow them cope with serious illnesses and other medical conditions. We have seen children who can finally function despite having severe cases of epilepsy and seen cancer patients able to get through the difficult process of taking chemotherapy drugs, which often make in nearly impossible to eat.

In answering that question she said that unlike her previous job where she regulated alcohol, she is not a marijuana marijuana user so she doesn’t have any personal knowledge as to how the drug affects people, but she did say she believes there is a medical need based upon the work she had done with medical marijuana patients as part of her new job.

She was also asked if she supported or opposed the legalization of marijuana for recreational use and she said she does not have an opinion on the issue and is too busy focusing on the job she has presently dealing with medical marijuana to consider what the future will hold.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Q&A Has she smoked weed? What will happen with recreational pot?: A conversation with California’s first marijuana czar, April 7, 2016, LA Times, By Patrick McGreevy
More Blog Entries:
Kosher Medical Marijuana for Orthodox Patients Available, Jan. 23, 2016, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog