California was 1 of 4 states across the country to legalize recreational marijuana last November and is now undergoing the process of setting up marijuana regulation for the state. The Board of Supervisors now have the enormous job of creating marijuana regulation for every single aspect of the industry as well as for how it will be handled by the sheriff’s office, the fire department, public health officers and regional planning departments. The infrastructure for the entire industry needs be established by the 1st of January 2018, which is when recreational marijuana becomes legal to sell. Naturally, the marijuana regulation that will govern the industry must be in place well before that.
The Importance of Getting Solid Marijuana Regulation in Place
Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl revealed a 9 page motion that will initiate the process for setting the regulations for California’s recreational marijuana industry. The motion emphasizes that the main focus is to “prioritize the protection of public safety and health as well as the quality of life in our communities.” It states; “Should the county fail to regulate, it could open the door to a number of negative impacts: illegal sales or use of hazardous materials in the manufacturing process…It is critical that our zoning regulations promote equity in availability and siting while not placing an undue burden on anyone unincorporated community in the county.”
An Uneasy Balance
Conflicting differences between the medical marijuana industry, the recreational marijuana bill, and cannabis regulations have been stirring since the bill was announced. This tumultuous balance has inspired concern about the state’s ability to manage the work and meet the January 1, 2018 deadline. Alex Traverso, a spokesman for California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, spoke to Salon and told them, “It’s a big job, but we’re working hard and have every intention of meeting our goals.” He told them, “The work we’ve done on regulations for medical cannabis have given us a great start.”
Hope in the Form of the Cannabis Caucus
Trump’s nomination for Attorney General is Jeff Sessions; a very loud marijuana opponent. This has created panic in the industry across the country just as marijuana became legalized in 1/5 of the country and medical marijuana is legalized in over half of the country. Despite concern from so many people, a new bipartisan group has formed called the “Cannabis Caucus” who are intent on pushing the legalization of marijuana forward. Members include Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California; and Rep. Don Young, Alaska. The group plan to re-introduce previously discarded bills, including one that would reschedule marijuana to a Schedule II drug, making it an officially recognized medicine.
Despite the current political climate, 60 percent of U.S. voters want to legalize recreational marijuana according to the latest Gallup poll. One way or another, movement towards ending prohibition across the country seems to be happening. As long as Congress has more important things to worry about (which they do) they are not likely to spend time demolishing programs that were voted for by the people.