Gov. Brown Supports Woods Fix to March 1 Local Deadline in MMRSA
UPDATE 1/27/16 - AB 21 has passed the Senate by a vote of 35-3 and was unanimously passed in the Assembly. It now goes to Gov. Brown's desk, and will take effect immediately upon his signature, repealing the March 1 deadline for cities and counties to act and retain local licensing authority.
1/19/2016 - The California Assembly Business & Professions, Agriculture, & Health Committees held a "joint" hearing today to discuss MMRSA implementation. Testifying were Dept of Consumer Affairs chief Awet Kidane; Jim Houston, Undersecretary of Dept. of Food and Ag; Karen Smith, head of the Department of Public Health; and California Police Chiefs head Christopher Boyd. All said they were working on implementing MMRSA by January 1, 2018.
That far-off date made the March 1, 2016 deadline for local jurisdictions to act or supposedly lose their licensing authority even more troublesome. Rep. Wood spoke of Alameda's sunset clause (see below) and said he wishes someone had thought of it sooner. Even if the March 1 deadline stays in place and/or is repealed later, cities and counties won't be punished, Wood said.
Tim Cromartie of the League of Cities, which has been criticized for pushing bans, said, "We knew promulgating bans was controversial, but developing meaningful regulation takes time [and there wasn't time before the March 1 deadline]. "The bans will be temporary," Cromartie said, siting Grass Valley and Eureka as two examples of places the made a point of the temporary nature of what they were passing. He also mentioned the Alameda sunset clause and thanked Assemblyman Wood for stepping up to erase the March 1 deadline in MMRSA, saying he supports AB 21 (which will have a hearing in the Senate Health Committee tomorrow [Wednesday] afternoon.)
Sarah Carillo, Tuolumne County counsel, said "There should be ample time to give locals time to draft regulations in a thoughtful manner...There is concern that municipalities are rushing into bans."
Hezekiah Allen of California Growers Association told the committee that the "Absolute, most pressing issue" is bans. Nate Bradley of the California Cannabis Industry Assn. said a better option than bans is Placer County's regulatory plans. "Once it's over with [the ban wagon] we hope to work with cities on models for better regulations," he said. Bradley mentioned NORML as a group working to get information about medical marijuana laws out to our members.
1/13/2016 - Cal NORML recommends adding "sunset" clause to any pending bans, as suggested to the Alameda County Supervisors by attorney Andrew Scher of Henry Wykowski & Associates. The clause was adopted by the Board on January 6.
1/7/2015 - Reps. Woods, Cooley, Jones-Sawyer, Lackey and Bonta have introduced an urgency measure, AB 21, which repeals the March 1 deadline for local action in MMRSA. The repeal is supported by the League of Cities, CSAC, the RCRC and Governor Brown. It is heading to its third reading in the Senate on track to be signed by the Governor within the month. Read more.
The headline on this LA Times story is rather dated, as is the rush by local officials to ban medical marijuana cultivation, dispensaries and/or delivery services before the March 1 deadline from the new state law (MMRSA).
The story is accurate:
A mistake in drafting new state regulations for medical marijuana in California has cities and counties scrambling to ban or restrict dispensaries before a March 1 deadline, after which, they fear, more lax state rules may apply.
Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), an author of legislation setting new rules for the industry, said the deadline was inserted in the bill in error and he plans emergency legislation next month to remove it from the law....
Deborah Hoffman, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jerry Brown, confirmed Friday that he was on board. "We support a legislative fix," she said. "The governor supports allowing local municipalities a reasonable amount of time to come up with regulations that work for their communities."
This letter should help cool down local officials who have been stampeding to restrict cultivation without adequate consideration,” Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer said Friday.
Also see: ASA's Local Access Project, their model ordinance protecting commercial cultivation, and their memo for local lawmakers.