April 5, 2017 – Late Tuesday afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposal to align medical marijuana regulations passed by the Legislature in 2015 and the 2016 Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64), both of which call for commercial licensing and regulation to begin in January 2018. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) applauds the Administration’s framework, which adheres closely to the language of Prop 64, which was passed by California voters in 2016 with more than 57 percent of the vote. DPA’s partner organization, Drug Policy Action, was a co-drafter and funder of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over in California.
Critical to protecting against potential federal intervention, the Governor proposes a unified regulatory system while maintaining distinct licenses for medical and recreational. Based on remarks from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions some fear that a federal crackdown on states with legal marijuana sales will target recreational markets first.
“As social justice advocates, we are excited that the Governor committed to implementing Prop 64 on-time and intact,” said Lynne Lyman, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Brown’s administration has designed a tight comprehensive regulatory framework that protects consumers, workers, public health, the environment, and small business stakeholders, while ensuring an inclusionary framework that opens up access for low income people and communities of color.”
Any efforts to roll back the sentencing reforms, to create new forms of discrimination or additional penalties for activities that are now legal, to limit community reinvestment, or to create barriers to economic participation by persons with limited capital or prior criminal justice records would undermine the basic fairness of Prop. 64, and reinforce the historical and institutional racism of the war on drugs.
The Governor’s proposed legislation was published on the Department of Finance website and addresses a range of regulatory issues, including licensing types, distribution models, cultivation limits, vertical integration, licensing equity, and the appeals process.
“The fight for a fair, just and safe system continues,” said Lyman. “Opponents of Prop 64, including narcotics officers and prohibitionists may try to twist arms in the legislature to undermine the voter’s intent.”
The Governor’s proposal will now be debated, first in the Senate and Assembly budget committees, then on the floor, and hopefully pass with the budget in June.