Governor Jerry Brown has recently unveiled his plan to alter the regulations regarding the adult and medical use of medical cannabis. He wants to unify the two in California! This has enraged the state’s most influential Teamsters.
Proposition 64 has long been troubling for California’s lawmakers. Since the legalization of marijuana last November, there hasn’t been any proper reconciliation regarding the rules of this Proposition. Neither have the lawmakers been able to regulate MMRSA—Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act—yet.
A key issue that remains to be solved is about the distribution of cannabis in California. According to the MMRSA, only a third-party distributor will be entitled to distribute cannabis products. This is fine by the Teamsters because this is essentially how alcohol—something marijuana is often compared with—is treated in this state. Another reason why these Teamsters seem to be fine with this requirement is that they are friends with the members of the union who drive beer trucks.
If the same rules are enacted for cannabis, it would allow the same union members to also drive cannabis trucks for delivery. This is a million-dollar industry we are talking about. Certain proactive businessmen have already hopped into the marijuana business foreseeing the prolific future MMRSA requirements are offering. This requirement was essentially absent in Proposition 64. The so-called “neutral” Teamsters contributed $25,000 last spring to run an anti-legalization campaign for this season.
The recent plan by Governor Brown thus, proposes a single set of rules for the adult and medical use of marijuana. The outline for this plan was spread over 79 pages, defining a single set of rules.
According to Brown’s plan, an independent distributor will not be compulsory. Furthermore, those wanting to get into the marijuana business will not need to get a state and a local permit. A state permit alone will be enough.
Other eliminated requirements include restrictions regarding the vertical integration. In other words, a single marijuana business will be allowed to enjoy the entire supply chain process. However, the testing labs must remain independent for obvious reasons.
According to the governor’s office,
“To ensure the integrity of the testing is maintained, all distributors must arrange for an independent licensed testing laboratory to select a random sample, transport it to a laboratory, and test the product.”
Although the proposal does seem tantalizing for the state’s cannabis industry, it still needs the approval of both houses of California’s legislature in order to become a law. The problem here is that there is not much time. The sales of recreational and medical cannabis will begin right from the beginning of next year—January 1st, 2018—while a lot needs to be settled regarding the proposal.
Unlike the Teamsters, a majority is backing up Governor Brown’s proposal, especially those who do, or plan to indulge in a small marijuana business. If the proposal becomes law, it is fair to say that the straying cannabis industry of California will finally be on the right track.