By Steve Elliott
California voters legalized medical marijuana via Prop 19 back in 1996, but in the almost two decades that have followed, state politicians have either criticized the state's cannabis trade or ignored it.
But with the Legislature now crafting rules to govern the medicinal cannabis industry, Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown looks to be the most powerful man in the state when it comes to that industry's future, reports Chris Roberts at SF Weekly.
Back when Gov. Brown was mayor of Oakland, that city became the first in the state (closely followed by San Francisco) to regulate the nascent medical marijuana trade. That city crafted its rules back in 2004, but the rule-making process had become deadlocked, with nobody able to agree on the number of dispensaries allowed in the city -- until Mayor Brown entered the room.
There would be four dispensaries, Brown said, and then rattled off what would become Oakland's precedent-setting dispensary ordinance, before abruptly exiting the meeting.
"He said, 'Here's what you need to do,' -- and then he left the room," said Dale Sky Jones, chairwoman of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, a group pushing to legalize recreational marijuana on California's 2016 ballot.