California gov suggests big changes to new marijuana system

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California Gov. Jerry Brown has issued a series of proposed changes to his state’s upcoming marijuana regulatory system in an effort to reconcile differences between a 2015 medical marijuana oversight law and the new recreational cannabis ballot initiative voters approved last year.

Among the numerous changes Brown put forth were several significant ones that were immediately hailed by the industry as a step in the right direction:

  • Repealing a mandate that would require a local permit for MJ companies – on top of a state license – unless the city or county in which a business is located has its own licensing system
  • Allowing for total vertical integration, meaning that a single company could have as many business license types as it wants, with the exception of testing labs
  • Repealing a requirement that MJ companies use third-party distributors to shuttle products around the state, between growers, manufacturers, and retailers

There were several other smaller changes as well, including tweaks to the definition of “owner” for cannabis companies, the elimination of state-issued medical marijuana cards in favor of county-issued MMJ cards, and the creation of a Marijuana Control Appeals Panel to oversee matters such as license disputes or enforcement actions.

There was also one big change Brown proposed that a number of California companies are already vowing to fight: A ban on adult-use licenses and medical licenses being allowed to operate in the same location.

If the ban is allowed to stand, it would effectively mean that retailers and other business types would be forced to choose which market they want to serve. Alternatively, they would have to spend money to obtain separate licenses and build different locations so they could serve both the medical and adult-use markets.

Check back with Marijuana Business Daily on Thursday for more on this story.