Thursday, January 28, 2016

Deadline for Marijuana Laws Lifted, Two Days After Supes Cram Through Ordinance

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 12:14 PM

click to enlarge Assemblyman Jim Wood, in October, asking Gov. Jerry Brown to pass statewide medical marijuana reforms. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Assemblyman Jim Wood, in October, asking Gov. Jerry Brown to pass statewide medical marijuana reforms.
Two days after the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed a comprehensive outdoor medical marijuana cultivation ordinance — an effort of superbureaucratic speed — state lawmakers lifted the deadline that led to the county’s mad rush.

Assemblyman Jim Wood announced this morning that his emergency legislation, lifting a March 1 deadline for local jurisdictions to enact pot laws or cede all regulatory control to the state, has been approved by both the Senate and Assembly. All that remains is a signature from Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislate-by date will be removed.

The local ordinance’s drafters always took the deadline seriously, even as it became more and more apparent the legislature was making good on its promise to remove the time restriction. Throughout the process, which saw dozens of hours of planning commission and supervisor’s meetings, and untold hours of staff time, the drafters lamented the short timeline, all but acknowledging that the ordinance could have been better with more time to work on it.

But the ordinance is not carved into stone — it goes into effect at the end of February, and supervisors can amend it as they see fit. Perhaps, embracing the deadline was a boon — motivation for the county to finally address Humboldt’s outdoor grow scene decades after Proposition 215 passed.

From Wood’s office:

Today the California State Assembly unanimously (66-0) passed AB 21, Assemblyman Wood’s emergency measure to repeal the March 1st deadline included in last year’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

AB 21 removes the March 1st deadline ensuring local jurisdictions maintain the authority to develop their own rules and regulations for cultivating medical cannabis indefinitely.
Assemblyman Wood said, “I am not advocating for or against a particular position on medical cannabis. I am advocating for local elected officials take the time to engage in a process that results good public policy, not knee jerk reactions.”

“Despite the people who said it couldn’t be done, this fix took the Legislature less than a month. As a result the burdensome March 1st deadline will be repealed nearly a month before it would have gone into effect,” said Assemblyman Wood. “Unfortunately cities were advised to act as fast as possible to ban activities of this industry because it was the easiest thing to do. I have already spoken to the executive director of the League of California Cities, expressing my hope that they will join me in encouraging locals to develop thoughtful, reasonable regulations moving forward. I hope they will work as vigorously to stop and undo placeholder bans as they did to roll them out.”

AB 21 is now on the Governor’s desk for signature. The Governor has publicly indicated he would sign a legislative fix to the March 1 deadline. Upon receiving the Governor’s signature the legislation will take effect immediately.

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Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth has been an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal since 2013.

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