Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed legislation removing a March 1 deadline for cities and counties to enact medical marijuana cultivation rules to avoid surrendering that authority to the state, a prospect that had disturbed city officials and medical cannabis advocates.
The March 1 deadline was mistakenly included in the Medical Marijuana Regulation Act, which was passed last year to license commercial cannabis production, distribution and sales.
As a result, a number of cities rushed to craft their own cannabis cultivation guidelines, or even considered the prospect of passing a ban on pot growing.
Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, whose bill removed the March 1 deadline, said the new law will give local jurisdictions an indefinite amount of time to develop their own rules and regulations for the medical marijuana industry.
He said that after California voters approved use of medical marijuana 20 years ago, the lack of guidelines led to black markets, unsafe neighborhoods, environmental damage and a culture of criminality.
“The historic regulations we passed last year put us on the path to fixing that and pushing the medical marijuana industry into the light,” Wood said in a written statement. “But to succeed, we need our local elected officials — both those who voted for outright bans because of deadline pressure, and those who are just now looking at the issue — to deliver solid policies that make sense for their communities.”
Wood is scheduled to participate in a forum with a panel of experts Friday, in Cloverdale, to help answer questions about the new state rules and guidelines being devised for commercial medical marijuana cultivation.
The 2 p.m. forum at the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center is sponsored by the Small Farmers Association, a group with more than 700 members mostly representing cannabis cultivators on the North Coast.
“People want to know how to be regulated without being arrested. Our goal is regulation, not having illegal grows,” said Patrick King, owner of Soil King Garden Center in Cloverdale, and a member of the association.
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@clarkmas