SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed an emergency bill to fix a legislative drafting error that had local governments in California racing to ban medical marijuana cultivation.
The legislation, AB21, by Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood of Healdsburg, amends the comprehensive medical marijuana regulations the Legislature passed in September to eliminate a paragraph giving the state sole authority to license pot growers in jurisdictions that did not have laws on the books by March 1 specifically allowing or outlawing cultivation.
Fearful of losing their power to set policy to the state, dozens of cities chose to ban all commercial pot-growing within their borders during the last three months. Some also prohibited authorized medical marijuana users from growing their own pot. Dozens more were scheduled to consider the issue in the next few weeks.
The deadline made it into the final regulations approved in the closing hours of the last legislative session by mistake, Wood said. Local officials now have plenty of time to decide where they stand because the state isn't expected to start licensing commercial pot grows until 2018, he said.