Friday, January 29, 2016 The CSAC Bulletin
CSAC Urges Governor to Sign AB 21- Marijuana Clean-Up Bill
Assembly Bill 21 (Wood) will fix the inadvertently enacted March 1, 2016 deadline for localities to have cultivation ordinances in place, otherwise the state would become the sole licensing authority for medical marijuana cultivation. On Thursday, the State Assembly voted 73-0 to approve the measure and it was immediately sent to the Governor. CSAC is urging him to sign it.

Specifically, AB 21 would strike Health and Safety Code Section 11362.777(c)(4), as enacted by AB 243 (Chapter 688, Statutes of 2015), which provides that if a local government does not have land use regulations, or ordinances regulating or prohibiting marijuana cultivation in place by March 1, 2016, the Department of Food and Agriculture will be the default licensing entity for all such jurisdictions. The March 1 deadline has created significant confusion at the local level resulting in some jurisdictions rushing to enact local regulations ahead of March 1. CSAC has asserted that eliminating the deadline will appropriately allow counties to utilize existing approval processes and timelines when considering their own approach to regulating the cultivation of medical marijuana.

AB 21 would also correct another inadvertent error in AB 243, regarding the last sentence of Health and Safety Code Section13262.777 (g) which provides local control over personal grows and patient caregiver grows of medical marijuana. While counties were happy to see this provision in AB 243, its inclusion was a mistake and Assembly Member Wood committed to repeal the last sentence of (g) in a letter to the Assembly Journal on the last night of the 2015 legislative session.

Again, while counties would have preferred to see the last sentence in Section (g) retained in full, we were concerned that repealing it entirely could result in the loss of county regulatory control on personal grows as well as threaten the integrity of the other local control provisions included throughout the new medical marijuana regulatory framework. The amended Section (g) represents a compromise between the cities, counties, police chiefs and patient rights advocates. It specifies the that the existing exemption from State licensure for personal grows and patient caregiver grows does not limit or prevent a city or county from exercising its police authority under the California Constitution Article XI, Section 7. We believe this provision will still allow counties to move forward in their local control efforts with respect to issues involving land-use decisions concerning the cultivation of medical marijuana.