California Prepared to Take Legal Steps in Merging Medical and Recreational Cannabis Use

By A. Hutchinson
California lawmakers and the governor are working to merge the state's new recreational pot law with its longstanding medical marijuana program. New legislation would introduce an array of regulations to protect consumers and public safety while ensuring taxes are collected.

Last week, an article released by California's Fox40 explained a new set of laws that have been integrated into the California state budget (currently seeking approval). Governor Jerry Brown and other state lawmakers are looking to consider cannabis as an "organic good" and also create new benchmarks for official marijuana varietals and growing regions, legalizing appellations, so craft producers can distinguish their products based on the unique strain and growing conditions like winemakers do.

Further, with temporary licenses from the state, businesses would be allowed to sell marijuana and provide samples at county fairs, regional agricultural associations and cannabis festivals.  Growers would be allowed to form agricultural cooperatives without running afoul of antitrust laws. Businesses would also be able to legally grow, distribute and sell their own product. 

Keeping an open container of marijuana in a vehicle would be illegal like it is for alcohol in California, except for people with a medical card or doctor’s note. 

Finally, Brown and lawmakers have agreed (with this legislation) to allow sellers with no public storefronts to deliver marijuana directly to customers. 

What this means for Californians is that legalization for cannabis (in all forms) is being adopted into law and will change how the pubic access and use it. “There are thousands of businesses currently engaged in this type of commerce,” claimed Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association. But now, growers and businesses can do it the right way (legally), with the State's approval: “The more of them that can get licensed, the better off the state is going to be, the faster we’ll be able to get rid of the criminal element and the faster we’ll be able to make sure the product is safe and tested.”

This is certainly good news for an industry that is seeing record-levels of success in places like Washington State and Colorado, where legal growers and cannabis businesses are reinvesting profits into the tax-pools for these states. “One of the biggest challenges we have is taking a multi-billion-dollar industry out of the dark and now into the light,” said Mike McGuire, a senate Democrat. It will be exciting to see what happens if these new laws come into effect.

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About the author: A. Hutchinson

Hutchinson is a qualified researcher and writer who is a fan of politics, history and counter-culture.