Although medical marijuana has been legal in California for almost 20 years, growers, distributors, and users have still found themselves being investigated or even arrested on marijuana charges due to a lack of knowledge of California's Medical Marijuana Laws. At the end of the 2015 legislative session, California lawmakers, in a midnight vote, passed legislation new legislation regarding medical marijuana. Assembly Bills 243 and 266, and Senate Bill 643, all passed Friday, Sept. 11, and are now awaiting signatures from Gov. Jerry Brown to become state law. Unsurprisingly, however, the new pending legislation is heavy on regulation and almost silent on further protection for people wanting to grow their own medicine.
The legislation addresses the following issues:
- Assembly Bill 243 provides regulatory measures for state water authorities to monitor medical marijuana growing practices. In other words, more regulation, more government bureaucrats who will now be empowered by law to enforce their own (uninformed) opinion on farmers and growers.
- Assembly Bill 266 requires all businesses dealing with marijuana to have both local and state licenses. In other words, now growers and dispensaries will have to pay more money to more government agencies for a piece of paper that you can only buy from the government.
- Senate Bill 643 allows for the creation of regulation standards to help control the marijuana industry. In other words, the legislators have done such a great job with taxes, schools, crime, corruption and the economy that they are now going to be able to tell the medical marijuana industry how to do their job as well.
In addition to these specific provisions, the bills also provide localities with the ability to determine specific taxes and fees on marijuana grown within city or county limits, and provides grant money to local law enforcement officials and cleanup crews.
The overall goal of the legislation is to monitor marijuana growth, distribution, and sales through the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, which will be formed once the bills are signed. The Bureau will be responsible for issuing licenses to authorized dispensaries and for developing and enforcing rules and regulations dispensaries must follow. The rules will standardize how medical marijuana is grown, tested, and labeled for sale.
Regulation and enforcement are also meant to reduce the environmental problems caused by illegal marijuana growers. Some of these growers have used illicit growing and disposal tactics that have had a negative effect on the environment. Under the new law, all growers will be held accountable to California agricultural laws and will have to follow set regulations for water use and chemical disposal.
The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation will be considered part of the Department of Consumer Affairs and will also work closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. These partnerships will lead to rights and protections for both organic growers and small family farms. Additionally, all marijuana will have to undergo the same health and safety tests as other agricultural products.
The bills are expected to be signed by Governor Brown without issue. The governor has shown his support for the legislation since it was drafted and played a key role in brokering the deal in the legislature. His signature should come before October 11th; once signed, the new regulations will go into effect in 2017.
The legislation is supposedly designed to provide needed state regulations for the growth, distribution, sale, and use of medical marijuana, and to eliminate the threat of harassment or arrest that individuals who deal with cannabis currently face. Unfortunately, even if this new legislation is used for that purpose, it will take time until all law enforcement officials become knowledgeable of the new regulations and how they apply to specific situations, meaning that those in the medical marijuana industry may still find themselves facing drug charge.
If you have been arrested on a marijuana-related drug charge, you need the knowledge and experience of Joseph Tully of the Tully & Weiss law firm in Contra Costa County, California.
Joseph Tully leaves no stone unturned when crafting your defense. His diligent and aggressive approach has won him multiple victories in high-stakes criminal trials and six consecutive wins in high-profile cannabis jury trials.
When a flawed criminal justice system is responsible for placing a false burden of guilt on you or a family member, you should call on Joseph Tully for a fast, effective, and proactive defense of your life and liberty. 925-229-9700 or 530.776.0840 or 510.269.9227