The California Department of Public Health has issued proposed rules for the cannabis industry in anticipation of the Proposition 64 provisions that will take effect next year.
Voters legalized the adult use of marijuana via Prop 64 last year.
The proposed rules require applicants who wish to grow, transport or sell marijuana for medical use to get a license from the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, and pass a background check. People who transport marijuana between farms and dispensaries would be prohibited from owning said marijuana, and must be at least 21.
The rules establish a track-and-trace system that would monitor cannabis products through the supply chain. Individual plants would be tracked from seeds and buds to processing facilities. Dispensaries would no longer be able to package products in-house or be allowed to give out free samples. Delivery service would be an option if abiding by strict rules—governing everything from volume to the types of vehicles used.
One proposed rule that will surely meet with opposition from the industry is a provision that edibles have no more than 10 milligrams of THC per serving, and no more than 100 milligrams of THC in the total package. There currently is no such limit, and some companies are specializing in ultra-potent edibles; consumers are eating them up. Many would argue that this per-serving limit is impractically small, especially for those with medical needs for higher doses. These complaints, however, will most likely lead to no changes in the rules. Colorado and Washington both limit edibles to 10 mg per serving and 100 mg per package.
Other proposed rules include:
• Packaging must not appeal to children.
• Cannabis may not be infused into alcohol, nicotine or caffeine products.
• Dispensary hours of operation will be limited to the hours between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
• 42 percent of electricity for indoor commercial cultivation must come from renewable sources.
• Concentrated products like extracts and tinctures could contain up to 1,000 milligrams per package.
• All cannabis business would need to be at least 600 feet away from schools.
• All products would be required to leave sales points in child-resistant containers.
• Cannabis farms would be limited to 4 acres.
• Licenses for veterans and cannabis businesses in good standing as of Jan. 1, 2016, would receive priority consideration.
Tuesday, June 13, is the last day for the public to submit written comments. More information can be found at cannabis.ca.gov.
California AG Ready to Fight for Cannabis in Jeff Sessions’ Drug War
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to federal prosecutors calling on them to push for prosecution of the most-serious charges possible in drug cases—especially those with mandatory minimum sentences.
Vanita Gupta, the former head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, told Yahoo! News that the memo was a “resounding step backwards into the 1980s of failed policies in our criminal justice system that resulted in us having the highest incarceration rate of industrialized nations in the world. It’s a real throwback in a lot of ways, and very troubling.”
Former Attorney General Eric Holder was unrestrained in his contempt for Sessions’ new directive. “The policy announced today is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime. It is an ideologically motivated, cookie-cutter approach that has only been proven to generate unfairly long sentences that are often applied indiscriminately and do little to achieve long-term public safety,” Holder said in a statement.
Sessions has repeatedly claimed that drug use—including cannabis—is behind a violent crime epidemic sweeping the nation. (For the record, crime rates nationwide remain dramatically lower than they were in the ’80s and ’90s.)
Congress has already limited Sessions’ ability to extend his renewed drug war to legal weed, and has denied federal funding of any efforts to prosecute cannabis businesses that are legal according to state laws, thanks to a rider to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. Section 537 states: “None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used” with respect to states with legal medical weed “to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
However, President Trump has the industry and its proponents worried a bit by his signing statement attached to the bill. Among the points of disagreement highlighted by the president was the provision that prohibits the feds from interfering with state-legal medical-marijuana programs. While signing statements are not policy, some worry it could signal future changes in policy where federal enforcement is concerned. This budget bill will be in effect through Sept. 30.
In an interview with Politico California, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra indicated that California is unwilling to yield on its marijuana laws, and would not back down from a battle in the face of a federal crackdown.
“I would love to see Jeff Sessions come to California and tell us we’re not going to move forward on cannabis. Something tells me that it’s not gonna happen,” Becerra said. “I’ll probably be the 1 millionth person in line to fight Jeff Sessions on that.”
He continued: “Cannabis is last century’s argument. We’re beyond that.”