News

State writing new pot regulations

A marijuana plant growing in Northern California. (Photo: Shutterstock)

California authorities are crafting new rules governing both medical and recreational marijuana, and they hope to present them to the public in March.

The move follows voter approval in November of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational pot use. It passed by 2 million votes out of nearly 14 million cast. The use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription was approved in California 20 years ago as Proposition 215.

An estimated 750,000 people in California use medical marijuana, and there are widely varying  estimates of the potential users of recreational weed.

The dollar value of the market for both marijuana sectors in California is estimated at about $6.6 billion, according to state Treasurer John Chiang. With the state facing a $6 billion budget shortage, the incentives to closely regulate and tax marijuana are high.

Statewide, taxable sales of medical marijuana in California were about $575 million during the first six months of 2016, according to the Board of Equalization. The board, which noted that the figure likely was a partial one, said some 1,023 accounts across the state paid $50.5 million in taxes during the period. However, more than two-thirds of marijuana-related businesses do not have bank accounts, according to Chiang, so tracking the money with precision is difficult. Click here  for a detailed story about legalized marijuana in California.

Gov. Brown’s draft 2016-17 budget seeks $52.2 million to beef up cannabis regulation and place pot rules under the authority of a single entity, rather than have medicinal and recreational marijuana each regulated separately.  The state’s goal is to get geared up by January 2018, when licensed commercial sales of recreational pot will commence.

“Because of the 45-day comment period, there should be plenty of time for public comment and feedback,” said Alexs Traveso,  a spokesman for the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. “Our work has been ongoing. Hopefully, we’ll get them ready to go sooner rather than later.”

Regulations will deal with cultivation, public health, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, testing, and the like.

 


  • Sundance98

    Sadly, Big Pharma will be taking over this market shortly. They are not going to allow a $6 Billion dollar business become a mom and pop back yard endeavor. Strict regulation and giant obstacles are no doubt in the offing. What will be a great joy to observe is what Trump will do. There is every chance that Trump will want a big piece of the action….which Downtown Jerry Brown will obviously say no to…… The battle between the Feds and the States on Marijuana is going to be a battle royal across our nation…..and as we said: “There can only be one!”:

    Meanwhile, we do have to observe: “We voted for Mickey Mouse in every election and …he finally won!”

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