Stay Tuned: California Could Regulate Medical Pot in the Next 36 Hours


California lawmakers for the first time in the state’s history could be set to regulate its booming, popular, multibillion-dollar medical cannabis industry.

Insiders say the Governor’s Office and the heads of the Senate and Assembly convened Wednesday to figure out who should get credit for the piece of landmark legislation. Once the issue is sorted out, the latest versions of the bills could be released, and the Senate and Assembly could swiftly vote to send the bills to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for signature as late as midnight Friday.

No one knows the exact final text of the regulations, but they would be based on amendments to language released by the governor last week, which incorporates two years of legislative work.

Hot and Heavy: California lawmakers near the finish line of landmark medical pot regulations.
  • Hot and Heavy: California lawmakers near the finish line of landmark medical pot regulations.

A rough picture of regulations in California has begun to emerge — with a robust, albeit highly regulated industry of licensed growers, distributors, and stores; a tracking system for cannabis; and consumer safety protection. Patients and caregivers rights are protected under Prop 215, but collectives would cease to exist one year after commercial licenses became available.

If passed, medical cannabis regulations in California promise to further feed an already blooming industry. The advent of clear black and white lines for legal behavior, and the ability to take profits and plow them into growth or political advocacy has already transformed the cannabis industry in Colorado, and California is eight times more populous.

California is the birthplace of modern marijuana in America, and its elite artisans and entrepreneurs would have a chance for the first time in their lives to hold a California state license to cultivate and sell the crop. The California seal on medical cannabis would bestow unprecedented credibility on pot as a medicine, and its practitioners would become equal citizens under the eyes of the law.