Legislature Considering Plans to Regulate Medicinal Pot Shops, Growers

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Sacramento Pot Shops Had Monday Deadline for Submitting Permits

File photo

(LA Times) —

California lawmakers are wading into the politically sticky issue of regulating medical marijuana, laying groundwork for state control of the sale and cultivation of cannabis with the expectation that voters will legalize recreational use next year.

The Legislature is considering multiple — and conflicting — plans to impose the first major statewide restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers; the billion-dollar-a-year industry is now regulated largely by local governments.

The debate has pitted cities and law enforcement agencies against marijuana growers and sellers.

“The Legislature has an important [task] in getting a bill passed this year, especially as we stare down 2016 and the propositions that are going to be on the ballot” advocating general legalization, said Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), author of one of the bills. “We need to have a strong regulatory structure in place before then.”

Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have legalized recreational pot to varying degrees. In California, as many as four competing initiatives to do so are in the works for next year’s fall ballot.

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