Local Bans Continue to Plague Marijuana Growers in California

012516_Local Bans Continue to Plague Marijuana Growers in California 

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Pot advocates in California are hoping that the passage of the state’s first comprehensive marijuana regulation last September would finally make it easier for marijuana growers to cultivate weed for both personal and commercial use.

According to the new regulation establishing the first statewide licensing and operating rules for California’s medical marijuana industry, the state alone will have the authority to license growers in jurisdictions that do not have laws specifically authorizing or outlawing cultivation by March 1.

But as it turns out, this only stirred anti-marijuana movements from various cities and counties in California to hastily enact bans on marijuana growing before the March 1 deadline. Some bans only apply to commercial cultivation, while other bans have also expressly prohibited personal pot cultivation, which has been overlooked for 19 years.

According to lawmakers, the deadline ended up by mistake in the final compromise regulations. Assemblyman Jim Wood has announced that he would introduce an emergency bill deleting the deadline, as the short time frame did not give local officials enough time to create their own cultivation rules.

“Most cities, their staff have no clue how to begin writing one of these ordinances,” said Tim Cromartie, a lobbyist with the League of California Cities. “Their first thought is, ‘Don’t the Feds prohibit this? How can we do this?'” Hence, the League of California Cities and the California Association of Police Chiefs advised their members to create cultivation bans ahead of the original cutoff date in order to preserve local control.

Meanwhile, the bans are becoming a source of frustration for veteran weed farmers who were hoping that state regulations would help bring clarity to the state’s medical marijuana industry. Instead, they find themselves “recriminalized,” according to Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association.

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