As of October 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed in place The Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act that allows local government within the state to legalize distribution of marijuana within their cities within their own terms of how they want to deal with marijuana within the town. Within the original writing within the bill, it gives local government to act within the deadline of March 1, 2016. In February, Jerry Brown had put into place an extension to make a decision, so that cities are able to come to a thoughtful and beneficial decision for their towns.
The progress of the marijuana ordinance in the San Gabriel Valley has been successful. Many of the cities within the San Gabriel Valley have decided to prohibit any type of Marijuana dispensing or delivery through the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act. This ordinance includes the following and is described as such…
“In enacting the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act (hereinafter, "MMRSA"), the California Legislature added Section 11362.777 to the Health & Safety Code (hereinafter, "Section 11362.777"). Subsection (c)(4) of Section 11362.777 provides in full that:
If a city, county, or city and county does not have land use regulations or ordinances regulating or prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana, either expressly or otherwise under principles of permissive zoning, or chooses not to administer a conditional permit program pursuant to this section, then commencing March 1, 2016, the division shall be the sole licensing authority for medical marijuana cultivation applicants in that city, county, or city and county.
Thus, Section 11362.777 clearly requires the California Department of Food & Agriculture (hereinafter, "CDFA") to act as the "sole licensing authority" for applicants seeking to conduct medical cannabis cultivation under MMRSA if a local government fails to affirmatively regulate or prohibit medical cannabis cultivation by March 1, 2016. See Bus. & Profs. Code § 19300.5(w) ('"Licensing authority' means the state agency responsible for the issuance, renewal, or reinstatement of the license, or the state agency authorized to take disciplinary action against the license."). In other words, rather than requiring medical cannabis cultivators to possess both a state license and local permit, Section 11362.777 allows medical cannabis cultivators under MMRSA to only possess a state license if a local government fails to affirmatively regulate or prohibit medical cannabis cultivation by March 1, 2016. However, the plain language of Section 11362.777 is unclear whether local governments permanently lose their authority to regulate medical cannabis cultivation if they fail to act by March 1, 2016.”
This has become a debating issue within local communities, due to the fact that this bill also limits patients who have a medical license to will not gain access to medical marijuana for their conditions. Overall, the cities within the San Gabriel Valley have decided to prohibit all delivery and dispensing services argue that it will help reduce/prevent crime into their areas and reduce usage. Given that there has been an extension to the decision date, these cities have the option to change their opinion and open to more discussion about this issue.
RAD updates from across the SGV.