Assembly Bill 21 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on February 3, 2016, effective immediately removing the March 1, 2016 deadline for cities and counties to enact medical marijuana cultivation ordinances or transfer that authority to the state, a prospect that had disturbed many city officials which resulted in scores of bans being implemented across California.
Assemblyman James Wood the author of Assembly Bill 243, one of the three bills that make up the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act indicated that the March 1 deadline was mistakenly included in the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act which became effective on January 1, 2016 to license the commercial production, distribution, transportation, testing, manufacture, and sales of medical cannabis in the State of California.
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 deadline was a drafters error included in the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The removal of the deadline will give local jurisdictions an indefinite amount of time to develop their own rules and regulations for the medical marijuana industry.
Assemblyman Wood noted that the historic regulations passed last year put the State of California on the path to fixing that and pushing the medical marijuana industry into the light. 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.