Although California voters authorized the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes back in 1996, the state’s lawmakers never got around to creating a firm set of regulations for the industry’s ganjapreneurs to act in accordance with.
The lack of state-appointed regulations left certain aspects of said industry, well, somewhat unregulated. Which meant characteristics of the business, such as those growing the marijuana supply, were operating under rules that were inconsistent and enforced with variance, and with negligible oversight at best.
In addition, not only did the state’s shortfall in regards to initiating some form of permit process make the cultivation facet of the medical marijuana business difficult for those eager to run a sanctioned operation to be entirely legitimate, it also gave those less willing to play by the rules somewhat of a pass to do just that.
Under the newly inked set of regulations, the California Department of Food and Agriculture will be the state entity responsible for monitoring the medical marijuana industry’s progress via a “seed-to-sale” overseeing system, which includes the need for growers to obtain a cultivation permit and heed to rules concerning their use of water and pesticides.
Furthermore, the new regulations have been designed to include policing of permitted grow operations by state agencies that will determine if said grow-ops are having a negative impact on the environment.
So, for those looking to operate a legitimate bud growing business, the new system will offer the guidelines in order to do so for the first time since Proposition 215 took effect, which leaves growers like Basil McMahon feeling optimistic in regards to the industry’s potential.
And although McMahon is hopeful, he’s still concerned about the obstacles that may lie ahead.
Here’s what McMahon told The Sacramento Bee:
It means I’ll be able to do what I’m doing without fear of persecution for the first time in my life, for the first time in generations. That’s exciting, but it also presents a lot of questions and challenges.
Some folks are concerned that if the new permitting process is too expensive and the act of complying to the rubrics is too unwieldy, that it could have a negative effect and push those that are reluctant to operate legitimately into growing “guerilla style”.
Here’s what California Assemblyman James Wood, one of the draftsmen of the new regulations, had to say in respect to what could possibly unfold:
If you try to go zero to 100 all at once, you push people further underground. They’ll say ‘hey, I never did that before, and I won’t do it now.’
Will the new regulations cause damage to the medical marijuana industry’s current grower’s operations?
Or will it weed out the bad seeds and offer those inclined to follow the rules an improved opportunity?
Only time will tell.