A non-profit entity charged with advancing local policy has issued a set of guidelines that outline the steps for regulation as well as outright bans of medical marijuana cultivation throughout California. The guidelines, issued by the League of California Cities, come as the state prepares to iron out the details of three bills known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. AB 266, AB 243 and SB 643 were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September and represent the first attempt to create a regulatory system for medical marijuana since it was legalized by voters in 1996. While the implementation of these bills still very much in motion, the league is pushing for cities to take action prior to March 1, 2016, when the state will become the sole licensing authority for the commercial cultivation of medical marijuana.
March 1, 2016 has been erroneously cited by various sources as the date when the state will assume complete control over medical marijuana regulations. However, the law office of Robert Raich said through a spokesperson that the deadline only establishes a state-run licensing authority in regards to cultivation and does not interfere with other city powers to regulate or prohibit medical cannabis though methods such as zoning and nuisance abatement after the March deadline has passed.
In a FAQ regarding the new laws, the League of California Cities outlines that cities are within their legal rights to enact total bans on medical cannabis cultivation. Citing a 2014 case in which the California Supreme Court upheld a decision to permit local cities and counties to ban personal cultivation, Maral v. Live Oak, the organization reiterates that these bans can prevent the cultivation of small amounts of medical marijuana for personal use by qualified patients. The new laws, in this way, will retain “access deserts” that allow certain areas of the state to opt out of allowing patients to grow their own medicine as outlined in Proposition 215. Thinking towards the upcoming changes in California state law cities, such as San Marcos, have already taken steps to ban the cultivation, sale and delivery of medical marijuana.
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act is set to take effect on Jan.1, 2016.
What do you think? Should cities be allowed to ban the cultivation of medical cannabis in states where it is legal? Let us know in the comments below.