California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed an emergency bill to rectify a “drafting error” that resulted in bans of medical marijuana cultivation in cities and counties throughout the state.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 21, immediately nullifies the March 1 deadline in the state’s new medical marijuana regulations. The new regulations, a set of three bills known collectively as The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), were passed by the Legislature in September and included a paragraph interpreted by many as a timed deadline to regulate medical marijuana cultivation, or lose their licensing authority.
Following today’s repeal of this section of the MMRSA, Cal NORML is calling for jurisdictions considering banning medical marijuana activities to table the issue and work towards “land use regulations to protect patient’s rights, as well as public safety and the environment.”
“Driving marijuana cultivation and delivery back underground will only lead to crime and neighborhood problems,” Deputy Director Ellen Komp said through a release. “Local officials have been calling for statewide regulation, and now that MMRSA is in place, it’s time to allow that regulation to work.”
Cal NORML reports 150 cities and counties throughout the state have already banned medical marijuana cultivation. With the governor’s signature today, those cities and counties that have yet to take action have gained additional time to decide the rules surrounding medical marijuana prior to the state’s anticipated January 1, 2018 start to issuing permit applications. Today’s announcement also included the appointment of Lori Ajax the current chief deputy director of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to oversee the formation of a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, the lead agency that will be responsible for issuing licenses.