On October 9, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of bills to regulate the medical marijuana industry in California:
- AB 266 establishes the state medical marijuana bureau and gives it sole authority to issue, suspend or revoke licenses for the transportation, distribution and sale of the drug.
- AB 243 requires marijuana farmers to obtain licenses through the state Department of Food and Agriculture, and gives the state the power to fine any grower that harms a river, stream or lake.
- SB 643 requires the Medical Board of California to investigate doctors who recommend the drug excessively and makes it a misdemeanor for doctors to prescribe the drug when they have a financial stake in a licensed medical marijuana facility.
Although the bills answer many questions regarding how the state intends to regulate marijuana, the bills raise many questions.
A fair reading of the bills is that California will now permit marijuana to be grown for profit. However, some commentators note that prior bills which state that nothing permits marijuana to be grown for profit are still in existence.
The new regulations also state that priority will be given to applications submitted by persons in compliance with their local regulations by January 2016. But what if your local jurisdiction does not have marijuana regulations by January 1, 2016?
Janssen Malloy LLP is working with local and state officials to obtain answers to these questions and looks forward to helping Humboldt County navigate through these unchartered waters.