Things got a little crazy in the California capitol building last Friday. As they do every year, the state lawmakers who have apparently been not wanting to waste the fine California weather on lawmaking waited until September 11, the last day a law can be passed in the legislative year, to scramble and pass as many laws as they could before midnight.
Though the state’s congress and senate failed to address a few serious issues such as how it’s going to pay for its health care program, but it did for some reason prioritize not one but three new laws regarding the regulation of the medical marijuana industry in California: Senate Bill 643, Assembly Bill 266 and Assembly Bill 246.
What it all boils down to is the creation of a brand new government branch called the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation and a few new rules requiring that collectives obtain licenses from both state and municipal authorities.
“This is better than what we have, the status quo, which is the Wild West,” Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), one of the authors behind this law bundle told the LA Times.
The new laws are quite transparently meant not so much to tame the wild land that is the medical marijuana industry as it is to mark some territory before the next frontier opens up with the legalization of recreational marijuana in California.
California has been dealing medical herb for nearly two decades without such legislative intervention, but now that legalization is looking pretty likely in 2016, and along with it the prospect that the state’s billion dollar weed industry is going to blossom into a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s time for the lawmakers and their lobbyists to get in there.
Not approved in the slew of policy-passing was a proposed excise tax on cannabis that was projected to have earned the state 60 million big ones. But it’s a pretty good chance that someone is going to try that one again as soon as the legislature opens back up for business.