SACRAMENTO -- The city of Sacramento continues to develop a framework for regulating and licensing marijuana -- a constant challenge for medicinal marijuana, now with greater implications for recreational use as well.
Sacramento City Council is meeting this week and next to discuss and potentially move forward with individual permitting for manufacturing, cultivating and distributing marijuana. Many of those who are involved in these processes now are doing so unlicensed, in a legally gray area.
"Got your order ready, I see that you're ordering a quarter-ounce of Kalifa Kush,” said a man who only wished to be identified as Ken.
He delivers medical marijuana for a Sacramento pot distributor. FOX40 rode along with Ken on his delivery route.
Ken picks up pot from growers and delivers to his customers, most of whom he knows by name.
"We have a lot of elderly patients with serious handicaps that do not have the means to get downtown,” said Ken.
The pot is legal for card-carrying patients who have been verified by the company, which FOX40 also agreed not to identify. But while the patients are legal, the act of delivering pot, Ken says, is a legally gray area.
The delivery went to a veteran who suffers from neuropathy, numbness in his legs and feet that he says makes it unsafe to drive.
"In every aspect, whether it becomes recreational or not, it's a medicine,” said the patient to whom the delivery went.
"The delivery service, there is no law governing this right now, which there really needs to be,” said Ken.
But according to Ken, the problem is while some delivery services verify patients' ID and medical history, many others in Sacramento don't. With no city ordinance in the books to regulate pot deliveries, there's almost no way to know who's legit.
"We probably have over 200 delivery services in the city. There's no ordinances for that,” said Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer.
He said he hopes that changes soon, however.
The city's working on setting up a permit system not only for distributors, but for growers and manufacturers that plan to turn the harvested pot into oils and edibles.
He says dispensaries alone have netted the city $3.4 million in tax revenue, and he expects that number to double once the permit process is approved and companies that apply are licensed to operate.
"Literally, we're talking about 13,000 to 14,000 jobs through the cannabis industry in Sacramento. We're talking about significant revenues for the city,” said Schenirer.
Ken says he still gets nervous driving past law enforcement with bags of pot in his trunk but hopes the business he believes in will soon be able to operate out of the shadows. He says he feels like his job makes a real difference in people’s lives.
Sacramento City Council’s special meeting Tuesday ended with council members unanimously moving permitting for manufacturing marijuana forward, though council members say it may be a matter of months before the city begins accepting applications for licenses.
Next week, they plan to take up cultivation and distribution, which includes this issue of home-pot delivery.