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California: Lawmakers Announce Deal On Medical Marijuana Regulation

CaliforniaMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California's long experiment in unfettered capitalism in the medical marijuana industry looks to be coming to an end. The California Legislature has reached an agreement to create a "regulatory framework" for medicinal cannabis.

Lawmakers said late on Thursday they've reached a deal on regulate and license medical marijuana, report Christopher Cadelago and Alexei Koseff at The Sacramento Bee.

"The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) is delighted that the California legislature has reached an agreement to create a regulatory framework for medical cannabis," the organization announced in a Friday morning email. "We have not yet reviewed the final language, but we are hopeful about the agreement -- and look forward to working with the state to establish a regulatory structure."

The regulations for California's billion-dollar medicinal cannabis industry will be contained in three bills that have gotten the approval of both chambers of the Legislature and the office of Governor Jerry Brown, according to Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), one of the authors.

Bonta said his measure, along with the others, will be released on Friday, and would require state and local licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries. It would create a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to oversee licensing and regulatory affairs, involving the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health.

California: Gov. Jerry Brown Says Little, Does Lots On Medical Marijuana Regulation

JerryBrownCaliforniaGovernor[YouTube]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

California: Convicted Medical Marijuana Seller Gets Congressional Allies In Legal Appeal

CharlesLynch2009[S.E.Miller-NewTimesSLO]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former medical marijuana dispensary owner Charles Lynch has for years waged a legal battle against federal prosecutors who want to send him to prison. Last week, he finally got help from some unexpected and influential allies: U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Sam Farr (D-Carmel).

Reps. Rohrabacher and Farr filed a strongly worded brief with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals accusing prosecutors of flouting federal law as they go after Lynch, reports Joel Rubin at The Los Angeles Times. The Congressmen called on the court to end the case against Lynch.

Rohrabacher and Farr were late last year the authors of an amendment to federal law meant to prevent the Justice Department from interfering in states where medical marijuana is legal. The amendment, receiving unusually broad bipartisan support in December, was written into a government spending bill.

The amendment prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds in a way that hinders states "from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

It was assumed federal prosecutors would have no choice but to abandon cases such as the one against Lynch. But Justice Department officials have persisted in their war on marijuana. In general, they've argued the spending ban forbids them from interfering with officials carrying out state law, but doesn't stop them from going after sellers.

California: They're Coming After MMJ, and 'Law and Order' Is The Phrase of the Day

CaliforniaMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

What's so scary about a free market? Almost two decades after California voters approved the medicinal use of marijuana, the state's cannabis trade is being described as a "Wild West," even as it has reached the status of a $2 billion industry.

Legislators, of course, are doing what lawmakers do. They want to bring "law and order" to the business, reports Anita Chabria at The Guardian.

There are currently three bills in the Legislature which would codify how medicinal cannabis is grown and sold in the Golden State, including whether the state or local municipalities have control, and what environmental and health issues should be addressed.

"There are no rules or regulations in California," claimed state Senator Mike McGuire. "For two decades now, the Golden State has allowed the cannabis industry to grow unchecked."

McGuire is sponsoring the Medical Marijuana Public Safety and Environmental Protection Act (SB 643), which focuses on the impact of growing on the environment. He said illegal grows are deforesting government lands, polluting waterways and "affecting the health of those who use medical marijuana," whatever that means, since most medical marijuana is grown legally in the state, not in national forests.

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