On Feb. 3, 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 21, emergency legislation drafted by Assemblyman Jim Wood, which abolishes the March 1 deadline that would have made the Department of Food and Agriculture the sole licensing authority for cannabis businesses in those municipalities that had yet to implement medical marijuana rules and regulations.
The March 1 deadline was mistakenly included in the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. Upon Brown’s signature, cities and counties in California can now craft and implement medical marijuana rules and regulations.
“Now that we have given local officials the time to take a thoughtful approach to regulating medical marijuana, I hope they will maximize that time by engaging with the public and having thorough discussions,” Wood said.
In 1996 the people of California voted to have a medical marijuana industry, but, frankly, state representatives dropped the ball. Years of apathy led to black markets, unsafe neighborhoods, environmental damage, and a culture of criminality. The historic regulations we passed last year put us on the path to fixing that and pushing the medical marijuana industry into the light. But to succeed, we need our local elected officials—both those who voted for outright bans because of deadline pressure, and those who are just now looking at the issue—to deliver solid policies that make sense for their communities.
Wood originally adopted and amended the emergency legislation on Jan. 6, with the California State Assembly passing it unanimously on Jan. 28.
You can watch Wood’s presentation to the California State Assembly below.