Lawmakers Pressure Jerry Brown to Sign Pot Bills

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A trio of California lawmakers is putting pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the last-minute statewide medical marijuana regulations approved by the state Legislature last month.

Assemblymembers Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) appeared together on the steps of the Humboldt County Superior Courthouse on Tuesday to urge Brown to sign the three bills they authored that together make up the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

The bills – AB 243, AB 266 and SB 643 – would create a statewide licensing and regulatory framework for the cultivation, transportation, distribution, and sale of medical marijuana. California has gone without such a framework since the state first legalized the medical use of marijuana under Proposition 215 in 1996.

“We cannot ignore the challenges created by 19 years of inaction and hope that they go away,” Wood said, according to the Eureka Times-Standard. “That simply hasn’t worked. For 19 years we have kicked the can down the road. The time to act is now. We urge the governor to sign AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643.”

If enacted, the bills would provide for the creation of a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation within the state Department of Consumer Affairs that would issue licenses to anyone hoping to work in California’s bustling medical marijuana industry. Fines for non-compliance with standards and permitting fees would provide the funding necessary to run the new regulatory outfit.

Third District Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace also voiced his support for the bills on Tuesday, blasting the state for not acting sooner to create an efficient statewide system.

“That unwillingness to elevate marijuana from a punchline to a policy issue has given this industry unique immunity from all taxes, bookkeeping standards, labor laws and environmental regulations, which in turn has made it a magnet for criminals and those who don’t care what wreckage they leave in their wake,” Lovelace said, according to the Times-Standard. “That has to end.”

As Breitbart News previously reported, Brown’s office was instrumental in helping to craft the regulations before the end of the legislative session. An idea floated early in the process called for the creation of a “Governor’s Office of Marijuana” to oversee the regulations, but Brown reportedly preferred to leave the regulatory minutiae to another state agency.