The Golden State is looking to bring its medical and recreational cannabis programs in line with each other.
California Gov. Jerry Brown stepped in to shepherd passage of the state’s historic medical cannabis laws in 2015. Now he’s stepping up to unify medical and recreational cannabis regulations before both markets compete in 2018.
In case you’ve been wondering where Brown stands on policy that will determine the future of an industry worth more than $5 billion, the governor dropped a 79-page trailer bill proposal last week. Some things quickly jumped out:
● Brown wants to eliminate a third-party distribution model requirement favored by the Teamsters union, law enforcement and alcohol interests.
● Brown wants to let businesses grow and sell cannabis, a vertical-integration scenario that critics fear will breed monopolies.
● Brown wants to delay wine-like appellations of origin for cannabis.
● Brown wants the state to stop issuing California Medical Marijuana Identification Cards.
Those proposals, along with prioritizing environmental protections and other nuts and bolts, will require two-thirds of the Legislature’s approval. Brown said consolidating functions of state’s 2015 medical cannabis laws and the 2016 voter initiative that legalized recreational use will save $25 million, just shy of half of the $52 million the governor budgeted to regulate California’s recreational cannabis market in 2018.
“Implementing the current medical and recreational cannabis statutes separately will result in duplicative costs,” Brown’s budget says.
Lori Ajax, head of the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, said Brown’s trailer bill proposal “harmonizes the many elements of the two main statutes governing medicinal and adult-use cannabis, while preserving the integrity and separation of those industries.”
Critics say the distribution model required by Prop. 64 — in which independent middlemen distribute products from growers and manufacturers to testing labs and retail outlets, while also acting as tax collectors — will raise prices and push consumers to the illegal market when recreational sales start in early 2018. the remainder of this article can be found at: https://cannabisnow.com/california-looks-unite-cannabis-laws/