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Cultivation Bans Sweep California

California Bans Cannabis Now Magazine
Photo by Gracie Malley


Cultivation Bans Sweep California

On Thursday the California legislature unanimously repealed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act’s troublesome March 1 deadline for cities to enact their own cannabis cultivation regulations.

Assembly Bill 21 now moves to the Governor Jerry Brown’s desk and, once signed, will become effective immediately. Since acknowledging the bill’s drafting error, 40 percent of the state has either enacted cultivation bans or have bans pending. Although the authors of MMRSA repeatedly declared that the March 1 deadline was included mistakenly in their haste to pass the act in an eleventh-hour vote, 138 cities have chosen to impose outright bans on cannabis cultivation ahead of the erroneous deadline, with 75 more cities having introduced legislation to ban.

In addition, 11 counties have enacted bans, while nine more have bans pending, including regions where cultivation has been a staple of the economy for decades. The bans include limits on both indoor and outdoor cultivation, with some areas voting to limit all forms of growing cannabis. Some jurisdictions, however, are taking a more reasoned approach.

In Sonoma County, renowned as much for its cannabis as its vineyards, more than 200 stakeholders turned out to a Town Hall meeting on Monday to discuss ideas for the local regulation of cannabis. Organized by the county’s Medical Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Susan Gorin, the meeting opened with an announcement that the county was working to pass an urgency ordinance that would temporarily cement current law, due to pressure to act by March 1 or else default to the state’s guidelines.

The standing-room turnout was unprecedented for the county of around 500,000, just north of San Francisco. About 30 additional chairs were brought in to accommodate the crowd. Close to 40 audience members took their turn at the podium reading prepared statements, including two prominent cannabis attorneys and a former Sebastopol mayor, while another former Sebastopol mayor, Robert Jacobs, owner of cannabis dispensary Peace in Medicine, had a statement read on his behalf.

Nearly all of the comments were overwhelmingly in support of cannabis and regulations that encourage unlimited licensing, permissive zoning and favor small-scale cultivators. Only one speaker proposed restrictions, stemming from a concern about the potential smell of outdoor gardens.

The most salient issue related to ensuring that small cultivators have a place at the table under the new laws. The vast majority of speakers implored the committee to consider scalable licensing fees. Licensing caps also represented another popular topic. Several speakers requested that no limits be placed on the number of licenses the county permits.

Another issue of import to the stakeholders was the distribution requirement. While cultivators have delivered their product directly to dispensaries since 1996, the new regulations will quash this relationship, mandating a distributor, or “middleman,” for all cannabis sales.

Are you affected by the new regulations for medical marijuana in California? Tell us your stories below.



  1. Jane Peters

    February 3, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Homegrown would be best. That way you know it’s pure and untainted.

  2. Rod is on the Gas

    January 31, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    The supporters from within the MMJ community who “mistakenly” rammed MMRSA through legislation, need to fall on their daggers. You have betrayed millions of MMJ patients. You singlemindedly enacted the largest ban in California’s history.

    Ban the bans? Right……Shut up and leave us alone!

  3. Beate Moore

    January 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I have been keeping my husband alive for 4 years with cannabis oil. He was duagnosed with 4stage primary liver cancer in April 2012 and send home with hospice. His quality if live has been excellent. Our county just outlawed outdoor growing, and i have neither the means no time to set up an indoor operation. This is in Nevada County.

  4. Maureen Masuda

    January 31, 2016 at 9:26 am

    My name is Maureen Masuda I have been affected by the bans the city I live in and surrounding cities all have bans. It affects me tremendously I have a lot of damage down my spine I have been in constant pain since I broke my neck in a car accident in 1996. I have been an outspoken activist in my city since 2013 when the city implemented the first ban since then they have strengthen the ban to full blown prohibition recently in 2016. It’s difficult to move around let alone drive 30 min. Out of town when I’m not feeling good. My city mayor and council are all Prohibitionist they claim they understand this is a medicine that helps people with cancer and other ailments but they choose to judge patients and use discrimination. The mayor in 2013 told me that what I was doing was the new civil rights issue and compared it to the gay rights fight yet they still banned Medical cannabis using judgements that our Dr.s are unscrupulous and we don’t look sick one councilmen said we looked like gangster.

  5. YearofAction

    January 30, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    The local growers in California could use some support from the federal government. The feds have stolen their Ninth and Tenth Amendment rights to grow cannabis with the confusing federal definition of “marihuana”, which is apparently still scaring local governments. By reforming that definition in a Necessary and Proper way, those rights can be restored. This proposed reform of that un-rescheduled definition will support those growers and provide a minimal level of guidance for those local governments:

    802.16. The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

    This year is a good time to discuss this proposed reform of the existing federal definition of marijuana which de-schedules the cannabis plant for the People, who are explicitly mentioned in the Constitution:

    You can also write a letter to your congressional representatives, and when this reform is enacted, then discuss rescheduling it.

    Look here to see the existing federal definition of “marihuana”:

    Additional uses for the plant Cannabis sativa L. are in Sec.7606,
    on page 264:

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