Even though medical marijuana has been legally circulating around sunny California for almost 20 years now, it’s still working out some kinks. Actually, kind of a lot of kinks.
And one the kinkiest areas of the Golden State is Monterey County, where the board of supervisors just voted 5-0 to put a ban on marijuana business applications for 45 days while the county re-evaluates its regulations regarding medical cannabis.
What exactly is going to change in the region’s marijuana law is unclear for the moment, but what is clear is that no one seems to be interested in abolishing local marijuana. County Planning Director Mike Novo told the Monterey County Weekly, “We don’t want to prohibit growing by a patient or caregiver. We’re just looking at a temporary moratorium for big commercial operations, taking a time-out to develop regulations that address those.”
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, revising regulations makes sense, though the sudden urgency and the need to prevent new businesses from entering the fray is a little mysterious.
During the ban, as Novo said, personal producers will be allowed to continue their cultivation. But so will existing mega-producers in the region. Producers like the grow farms represented by Salinas attorney Aaron Johnson and PR strategist David Armanasco, both of whom call several existing growers (the names of whom they won’t currently divulge) in the area and both have recommended the new regulations.
It’s only new up-starters who are going to be kept out of the clubhouse for the rest of the summer. Whether giving existing companies like the ones with these lobbying lawyers and PR strategists an intentional edge over new kids on the block is intentional on the part of the county or not, no one on the outside can say, but one could read that in the tea leaves if they were inclined to.
45 of the 58 counties in the state currently have their own marijuana regulations. Monterey, as Johnson puts it, “will be the best growing region. We don’t need to heat too much in the winter, we don’t need to cool too much in the summer.”
After the new regulations get set down and the ban is listed, according the Monterey County Weekly, Existing businesses will effectively be grandfathered in before any future ordinance on medical marijuana takes effect.