Cannabis News Protecting Patients Access to Medical Marijuana
  Ballot Measure Would Put State in Charge of MMJ
Posted by CN Staff on February 05, 2012 at 19:00:58 PT
By Peter Hecht, McClatchy Newspapers 
Source: Sacramento Bee 

medical Sacramento, Calif. -- A proposed ballot initiative in November begs a key question looming over California's medical marijuana industry: Can stricter state regulation keep the federal government from shutting it down?

Dispensaries, medical marijuana growers and a powerful union local are rallying behind an initiative that would regulate California's $1.5 billion pot trade.

They predict they will be able to raise $2 million from medical marijuana businesses and drug policy groups to qualify the measure for the November ballot. A drive to gather a required half-million valid voter signatures could begin this week after Attorney General Kamala Harris completes a legal summary and petitions are certified by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

California's medical marijuana economy is governed mostly by local governments, often with conflicting rules. The proposed initiative would largely put the state in charge.

It would establish a medical marijuana enforcement bureau in the Department of Consumer Affairs. A commission with majority representation from the medical cannabis community would oversee the enforcement bureau, license dispensaries and marijuana cultivators, and set standards for the pot trade.

The effort is a political compromise by wary factions.

The "Emerald Growers Association" from the Humboldt and Mendocino County pot country signed on after initiative backers rejected a model based on the dispensary-run pot-growing centers used in Colorado. The group wanted assurances that rural outdoor pot cultivators wouldn't be cut out of the market by urban indoor growers.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5, which two years ago backed the Proposition 19 effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use, signed on to the new initiative after deciding it was the best option to protect union jobs in the pot industry.


Complete Article:

Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Author: Peter Hecht
Published: February 5, 2012
Copyright: 2012 The Sacramento Bee

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