California cities have been scrambling to meet a legislative deadline to either regulate land use for marijuana enterprises or let the state do it by March 1.
Lawmakers say the deadline was a glitch that will be fixed with new legislation. But that hasn’t stopped cities up and down the state from moving to ban pot businesses of various kinds, including delivery services.
The group Americans for Safe Access recently urged municipal governments to avoid banning cultivation and instead regulate it for the benefit of citizen patients.
ASA has developed a model ordinance to make it easy for City Councils and other local governments that want to regulate growing.
“Medical cannabis advocates need tools and training to talk with their local lawmakers about medical marijuana,” said ASA California Director Don Duncan. “This project is all about supporting and empowering those local advocates to make a difference in their hometown.”
Gov. Brown last year signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, a trio of bills that will provide regulation and licensing for medical marijuana, from seed to store.
ASA explained in a statement:
The new legislation creates the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR) in the Department of Consumer Affairs to oversee state licensing. The bill also charges state agencies with developing regulations for cultivation, testing, and dispensing medical marijuana. Medical marijuana businesses must have both a state and local license to operate before January 1, 2018. While cities and counties must approve medical marijuana businesses in most cases, the current version of the MMRSA allows the BMMR to license commercial cultivation without local approval in a city or county that does not authorize or ban commercial cultivation before March 1, 2016.
“The deadline for local licensing of commercial medical cannabis in March has caused some cities to overreact,” said Duncan. “In some cases, local governments are even banning marijuana cultivation by individual patients. That was never the intent of the law, and it is unlikely that that provision will remain in state law.”