California Moves Big Step Closer to MMJ Regulations

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Key lawmakers in California have agreed on the specifics of a proposal to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry, raising hopes that the Legislature can push through MMJ rules before it adjourns today.

The proposal involves a package of three bills that will need to be amended and passed by both the state Senate and Assembly today before going to Gov. Jerry Brown, according to a press release from state Sen. Mike McGuire’s office.

Supporters are optimistic that they have enough support in the California Legislature to pass the bills.

Under the measures, “every aspect of the commercial medical marijuana industry would be regulated and subject to licensure,” according to the release.

The development could mark an enormous step forward for California’s MMJ industry, as lawmakers have tried and failed for years to approve statewide regulations on medical cannabis businesses. To date, all industry rules in California are local, passed by either city or county governments, and in many areas there are no rules whatsoever.

The bills would create a new state agency called the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation that would operate under the state Department of Consumer Affairs.

Medical cannabis would be regulated officially as an agricultural product, and cultivators would have to abide by the same rules as other farmers, including adhering to water and pesticide regulations, McGuire’s office said. That will include “robust provisions governing indoor and outdoor cultivation standards for small, medium and large growers,” the release said.

The proposal also includes a “carve-out” that would allow Los Angeles to continue enforcing regulations approved by voters there, The Los Angeles Times reported. The regulations would also set up a system for labeling some cannabis “organic,” along with trademarked brands, according to the East Bay Express.

Marijuana Business Daily will update this story later today.