Want to Get Into California’s Legal Pot Market? Expect a Regulatory Morass

Heavy regulation is (probably) the future of cannabis legalization.
Colorado and Washington cannabis businesses operate under extensive regulations, many of them similar to the rules California is poised to adopt. Their labs are required to conduct similar tests, their shops also have to use opaque bags, their packages must be covered in similarly stern warning labels. In part, these rules are designed to limit diversion and to discourage teen use, both necessary to keep the federales at bay. But they also reflect a bureaucratic mindset that says preventative measures should be taken for an entire universe of potential calamities, regardless of how unlikely they are.


New York Times: Legal Marijuana Is Almost Here. If Only Pot Farmers Were on Board.

More than nine months after California voted to legalize recreational marijuana, only a small share of the tens of thousands of cannabis farmers in Northern California have joined the system, according to law enforcement officers and cannabis growers.

Despite the promise of a legal marketplace, many growers are staying in the shadows, casting doubt on the promise of a billion-dollar tax windfall for the state and a smooth switch to a regulated market.

At the same time, environmental damage and crime associated with illegal cannabis businesses remain entrenched in the state despite legalization, law enforcement officials say.

“I know that the numbers don’t look great; there are a lot of folks that aren’t coming in,” said Hezekiah Allen, the executive director of the California Growers Association, a marijuana advocacy group. “People are losing faith in this process.”

Continue reading the main story

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – Toxic chemicals from illegal marijuana farms hidden deep in California’s forests are showing up in rivers and streams that feed the state’s water supply, prompting fears that humans and animals may be at risk, data reviewed by Reuters show.

The presence of potentially deadly pollutants in eight Northern and Central California watersheds is the latest sign of damage to the environment from thousands of illegal cannabis plantations, many of them run by drug cartels serving customers in other states, according to law enforcement.


Prominent Names in Tech Industry Investing in Cannabis

Prominent Names in Tech Industry Investing in Cannabis


Hmong pot growers in Siskiyou County seeking identity, profit — or both

The terraces of Siskiyou County, however, were planted in cannabis. More than 1,500 Hmong farmers in the last two years have poured into this remote county, so vast it encompasses two western mountain ranges. By the second growing season in 2016, satellite images showed nearly 1,000 parcels laden with dark green crops. Depending on whose yield estimates and black market prices you rely on, the Hmong’s Siskiyou crop had a value as high as $1 billion.Where it was bound for, the growers would not say.


Public hearing planned for report on cannabis growing in Calaveras County

A 426-page final environmental impact report has been released for a proposed ordinance to ban commercial cannabis cultivation in Calaveras County, a step in a process that began more than a year ago. The report concludes commercial cannabis cultivation has unavoidable adverse effects in Calaveras County that expose people to objectionable odors and creates a long-term increase in traffic. Prepared by consultant Ascent Environmental Inc. of Sacramento, the final report includes responses to comments made by individuals and public agencies on a draft environmental impact report released in April.  A contract for draft and final environmental impact reports in connection with the proposed ordinance pays Ascent Environmental $221,947, Peter Mauer, planning director for Calaveras County, said Friday.


When it comes to buying pot for pleasure, Fresno won’t be on the recreational map

Retail marijuana dispensaries and other businesses related to recreational use of marijuana will be barred from setting up shop in Fresno after the City Council voted 4-3 Thursday to prohibit such establishments.

Proposition 64, approved by California voters in November 2016, legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana. It also legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use starting Jan. 1, 2018 – but gave cities and counties the authority to regulate or prohibit commercial cannabis operations in their jurisdictions.

Thursday’s vote was the latest step in efforts backed by District 6 Councilman Garry Bredefeld and Mayor Lee Brand to quash the possibility of dispensaries before the start of 2018, when the state plans to start licensing dispensaries for nonmedical marijuana to operate in the state.



Lathrop considers rules to regulate indoor pot grows

When the City of Lathrop took a closer look at allowing residents and businesses to grow medical marijuana in the community several years ago, they decided against it.
And ever since it has been against the city’s municipal code to grow any marijuana – indoor or outdoor – for any reason.
But in the wake of California voters approving a ballot initiative that makes possession and cultivation of marijuana legal in the state, the Lathrop City Council is being asked to revisit the item and bring the city’s existing ordinance in-line with California law.



Redwood City officials want your input on recreational marijuana use within the Peninsula city. By Friday This Week–442911673.html

Residents have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to provide their input in a community survey while the city reviews how its current local restrictions on marijuana use will be impacted by Proposition 64, the statewide marijuana legalization act

The passage of Prop. 64 provided sweeping legalization of recreational cannabis for adults age 21 and over starting Jan. 1. It also provided a framework for the cultivation, manufacture, transportation, storage, distribution, sale and taxation of recreational cannabis.

However, local municipalities can decide whether or not to allow commercial cultivation and dispensaries under city ordinances and determine how they will tax the newly legalized drug. So far, California cities and counties have widely differed on their local implementation of the new act.

Redwood City, for example, may allow recreation and medical cannabis delivery that is sealed, cash free and fully tracked under State of California regulations as well as impose business license fees, excise and sales taxes to cannabis deliveries. However, it is also considering the ban of commercial and outdoor cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and processing.


City council supports a county cannabis ban

The Ridgecrest City Council at its meeting Wednesday voted to send a letter to the Kern County Planning Department supporting a ban on commercial cultivation and retail sales of cannabis in unincorporated areas of the county. The Kern County Board of Supervisors will not make their decision until October or November, but council weighed in with their recommendation for the ban.

If enacted, the ban would not affect people’s legal right to use medical marijuana (if 18 or over and holding a marijuana card) or recreational marijuana if (21 or over). It would prohibit cultivation and sales, not legal use.


San Diego council votes Monday on marijuana cultivation, manufacturing

San Diego on Monday may join a small group of California cities willing to allow a local marijuana supply chain to sell the drug to both medical and recreational customers.The City Council is scheduled to consider a proposal to legalize local cultivation, manufacturing and testing of marijuana and related byproducts like edibles when new state laws take effect in January.



South Lake Tahoe zoning to restrict recreational marijuana could cause conflict with TRPA

If South Lake Tahoe City Council decides to allow recreational cannabis businesses within the city — and restrict where it’s allowed through zoning regulations — there could be a wrench in the plan: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approval.

At a public workshop last week, South Lake Tahoe City Council decided to head in the direction of a temporary ban on recreational cannabis sales, commercial grows and edible production while they await California’s baseline regulations, which are expected out this fall.

During the temporary ban period of up to a year, a council subcommittee would meet with community stakeholders — both for and against recreational cannabis in the community — to try and build local guidelines off of the state’s regulations.