According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, the governor has proposed a plan to alter some marijuana laws in California, and this has led to some push back from state lawmakers. Those who challenge these new measures say repealing certain provisions in the now two-year-old marijuana laws would essentially be a giveaway to the marijuana industry at the expense of the safety and welfare of the general public.
However, it should come as no surprise that those who are pushing the pubic safety aspects are primarily supported by the law enforcement community. Despite there being no credible evidence to support this position, and in fact there is evidence to the contrary, the law enforcement community has worked to oppose marijuana legalization across the country by arguing that it will increase crime and school dropout rates. This was a major argument made in Colorado to avoid the legalization of marijuana of marijuana for recreational use.This was not successful, nor was it successful in California, where voters supported Proposition 64 on last November’s ballot, which made recreational use of marijuana legal in California subject to some regulatory restrictions and framework.
As for this specific law sponsored by the governor, the plan is to merge the existing marijuana legislation passed in 2015 with the changes under Proposition 64. As our Riverside medical cannabis lawyers can explain, prior to the 2015 laws, marijuana was legal for medical use, but it was up to the local cities, towns, and counties across California to regulate it as they saw fit. The reason for this is because, when voters passed the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996, the state was not really a part of this other than to direct state law enforcement officials not to arrest legal medical marijuana patients, approved caregivers, dispensary personnel, and licensed growers.
While this continued for most of the decade that followed legalization of medical marijuana for the first time in the nation, the state became concerned that it would get left behind and lose its chance to be a regulating force, and, in 2015, sweeping changes were passed that created a medical marijuana regulatory agency with broad statewide powers. However, legalization of recreational use marijuana has complicated the mission of this new agency, and changes were proposed to allow it to also regulate recreational use of marijuana.
In an effort to streamline the process, the governor has proposed several major changes. One of these changes was to do away with a requirement that dispensaries, or “pot shops” as they are now being be called by the community, to first get a city or country permit to sell marijuana before they can apply for a state license. Those who oppose this measure say that it is not merely an effort to remove redundancy, but it also serves as a giveaway to the marijuana industry by cutting red tape that is necessary to benefit the community. As one might expect, those who support the billion-dollar marijuana industry do not feel that this regulation helps the public, or anyone else for that matter.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
Rift opens between the Brown administration and legislators over new marijuana laws in California, April 14, 2017, By Patrick McGreevy, LA Times
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Report: Most Banks Still Reticent About Reefer, Feb. 26, 2017, Marijuana Lawyer Blog