California’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation is confident that they will be able to implement the new rules and regulations required by Prop 64 by the January 1st, 2018 deadline. Lori Ajax, the chief of the BMMR who has a team of eleven full-time members working on the new regulatory framework, has experience in tracking commodities from her time as California’s leading alcohol czar.
California cannabis is particularly tricky. There are nearly 40 million residents in the state, many of whom have become quite familiar with the Californian marijuana economy that sprung up after Prop 215 in 1996 legalized medical marijuana for approved adults (and children in rare and extreme circumstances). Prop 64, which passed this last November with an impressive lead at the polls, hopes to eliminate the black market and reduce youth exposure to cannabis through education and inclusive licensing opportunities.
State policymakers are meeting this week to determine if the BMMR’s proposed framework can realistically be implemented by the 2018 deadline. Prop 64, which immediately gave adults in the state the right to possess cannabis legally without a medical recommendation, did not immediately grant these individuals with the ability to purchase cannabis. If this seems a little backward, you are not the only one feeling that way.
However, California is not the first state to legalize cannabis, and from the evidence provided by Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, it is clear that we need to have an organized framework in place and prepared to efficiently monitor the industry. The alternative is a patchwork of rules and regulations that force certain businesses out of legal channels and right back to the black market. This is precisely the opposite of what needs to happen if legalization at such a large scale will succeed.
There are so many little things that could throw off Lori Ajax and the BMMR, but for the most part, they seem willing to hear concerns and address them in a responsible manner. One major incident that cannot be repeated was a hiccup with a law governing Oregon’s extract producers. Due to a lack of oversight, one of the regulations permitting cannabis producers to legally concentrate their products lapsed, forcing hundreds of licensed businesses to either continue making their products illegally, or shutter their doors for the interim period (which ended up being over one month).
Many businesses were unable to rebound through legal channels, highlighting the incredible importance of ensuring that all existing across in the cannabis industry have an opportunity to participate legally and efficiently.
Despite back and forth from different cannabis advocacy groups, California needs to responsibly regulate cannabis. Due to our massive size, and the sheer number of folks who admittedly use cannabis in the state, California has a chance to correctly implement cannabis regulations, and possibly present the scalable standard that can exist all over the country.
It’s easy to get involved in our community. You can sign-up for our newsletter to receive updates on our services and events. We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date on all of the information and opportunities we offer.
And of course, you can explore the cannabis available at Yerba.org!