Heading into the last month that local California governments can take regulatory action on marijuana before a new state law kicks in, more than 160 jurisdictions have either approved or introduced bans on medical cannabis growing.
The “banapalooza,” as the California chapter of NORML has termed it, stems from a relatively short deadline that local governments were given by the state when the legislature approved a new set of medical cannabis oversight laws last September.
Those laws, collectively known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), allow municipalities and counties to enact their own rules governing MMJ, but only until March 1, 2016. After that, regulations will be the sole purview of the state.
Although more than one legislator has said the deadline will be repealed, local policymakers have little time to craft comprehensive regulations under the current rule. So the default action, according to the Associated Press, has been to simply ban either some or all cultivation.
That could prove very problematic for any existing business that is currently operating in a legal gray area, since the MMRSA will eventually require all legal medical cannabis companies to have both state and local licenses.