Governor Brown Passes Medical Marijuana Regulations

SAN FRANCISCO — Three bills aimed at regulating California’s medical marijuana industry were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, his office said.

The governor’s endorsement of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act was expected because his office crafted much of the fine print.

The bills will create the first statewide licensing and operating rules for growers, manufacturers of cannabis-infused products and retail weed outlets.

The proposal’s enactment comes as multiple groups are trying to qualify voter initiatives for the November 2016 ballot to legalize pot for recreational use.

“Given the history and complexity of California’s market, achieving the people’s will and responsibly regulating marijuana will be a process that unfolds over many years, requiring sustained attention to implementation,” Newsom, who is also a candidate for governor in 2018, said after the legislative vote.

The bills seek to require individuals or companies engaged in any aspect of the industry to obtain at least one of 17 different licenses.

The laws include separate licenses for indoor and outdoor cultivation, transportation, product testing, distribution and dispensaries.  It also charges state agencies to develop guidelines for packaging, potency, pesticide use and advertising.

The bills allow individuals to grow small amounts of cannabis for personal use and also allows local governments to ban or tax marijuana-related businesses.

“It was well-written. It was well thought-out. It flows,” Steven Lubell, a lawyer who represents marijuana dispensaries. “The industry, I think, wants this. They want to do what they have to do to run it like any other business.”

But the American Medical Marijuana Association, an advocacy group for marijuana patients, says it plans to sue to overturn the legislation.

The group says that parts of the bill, including a provision that limits the space in which an individual can grow their own marijuana to 10-feet by 10-feet, illegally amends the 1996 voter initiative proposition 215, that initially legalized medical marijuana in the State of California.