Attempts to regulate California medical marijuana dispensaries could finally come to fruition this week.

The office of Governor Jerry Brown has reportedly gotten deeply involved in developing legislation that would, once and for all, license dispensaries, provide statewide rules of operation, and assign responsibility for policing them.

Many collectives applaud the effort. After all, there is no state permit to run a dispensary in California, and the lack of such puts pot businesses in the cross hairs of local city councils and police.

The governor’s office is said to be working out language to appease lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate, language that would establish some kind of statewide authority to oversee collectives.

The parties also want to have a law in place that could anticipate and provide regulation for full recreational legalization in California should voters approve as much next year.

In the meantime, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council is urging the legislature and governor to get it done this time. It’s only been since 1996 that Californians legalized medical marijuana. And yet there remains to be no statewide regulatory framework.

The UFCW already represents some pot shop workers, so it could surely benefit from new legitimization. Jim Araby, Executive Director of the Western States Council, said:

After months of negotiations, no significant policy disagreements remain between the major parties, a significant achievement made possible because law enforcement, local government, labor, and industry worked together to protect the public by moving critical legislation forward.

We applaud Governor Brown’s leadership in recognizing that regulation of the medical marijuana industry is long overdue and for facilitating a collaborative process to provide guidance for what an acceptable bill would look like.

Now is time to finalize legislation that will protect consumers and workers in this fast-growing California industry. We must pass a bill this year. The current ‘Wild West’ system has gone on for far too long.

Regulation is good for workers, good for consumers and good for California. Consumers will gain new assurances that they will get a safe, accurately labeled product and industry workers will gain the kind of training and workplace protections employees in other industries have long enjoyed.

Most importantly, the people of California will gain peace of mind from knowing that we have finally set these standards—and that we did so before a likely voter initiative on legalizing recreational cannabis in 2016.

Good luck.

Leave a Reply