The State of Cannabis Delivery in California
Currently, 73% of California’s municipalities completely block Prop 64 and access to medical marijuana. In these municipalities, residents can’t buy cannabis from a dispensary, order cannabis delivery, and, in most cases, can’t even cultivate it because the regulations are too restrictive. (Huge permitting fees and adjacent structures with unrealistic setbacks, for example.)
This isn’t what the vast majority of voters intended when they approved legalization. As a result, reasonable access to cannabis is non-existent in nearly three-quarters of the state.
Both the Bureau of Cannabis Control and the State Legislature have attempted to enact regulations or legislation that would fix this problem. Senator Ricardo Lara recently introduced SB 1302 that would have eliminated delivery bans as well. It suffered the fate of most bills–it never even made it to the House.
Each time a governing body has attempted to clarify that delivery should be allowed everywhere, it faced staunch opposition from special interest groups that wish to defy the will of the voters. These special interest groups say that the BCC’s proposed regulations would defeat Prop 64’s intent to maintain local control over cannabis regulations.
But there’s a difference between maintaining local control over reasonable regulations and completely banning cannabis throughout most of the state. In many of the districts that completely ban cannabis access, the voters overwhelmingly approved of Prop 64, but their public representatives continue to defy their will. As a result, cannabis patients who NEED access to their medicine are being forced back into the black market.
Why We Must Allow Cannabis Delivery
Prop 64‘s original intent and purpose includes a provision that preserves the power of local municipalities to ban local adult-use businesses. However, this doesn’t explicitly allow these municipalities to ban cannabis delivery to residents from state-legal businesses. Again, the opposition’s liberal interpretation of the local-control provision has resulted in a complete ban of cannabis activity in 73% of the state. These bans have led to a massively lower state-revenue than predicted, and an explosion in black market activity.
Since the initiative explicitly states its first intent and purpose is to “take non-medical marijuana production and sales out of the hands of the illegal market,” it’s obvious that this statement takes precedence over their broadly-interpreted, implicit interpretation of Business and Professions Code 26200:
(a) Nothing in this division shall be interpreted to supersede or limit the authority of a local jurisdiction to adopt and enforce local ordinances to regulate businesses licensed under this division, including, but not limited to, local zoning and land use requirements, business license requirements, and requirements related to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, or to completely prohibit the establishment or operation of one or more types of businesses licensed under this division within the local jurisdiction.
Adherence to this section doesn’t require allowing municipalities to completely ban delivery, especially if using such a liberal interpretation would allow bans in most of the state and cause an explosion in black-market activity.
However, adherence to Sec. 3 Intents and Purposes (a) would require allowing delivery everywhere, now that we have seen the results of the ban.
The BCC is simply enacting a regulation that they’re required to by law, and they’re being attacked by special interest lobbies for doing their job.
How You Can Help
We need to let the BCC know that they have the people’s support in enacting this much-needed piece of regulation. You can help us support the BCC, cannabis delivery and the legal market in two different ways.
First, if you’re in town, attend the BCC’s upcoming Cannabis Advisory Committee and let them know you back delivery everywhere and want to end the black market.
- August 20, 2018 at 10:00 am
- Hilton Sacramento Arden West, Grand Ballroom
- 2200 Harvard Street, Sacramento CA 95815
Second, if you can’t swing by on the 20th, write the BCC at BCC.firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that you support their implementation of delivery in Sec. 5416(d).
But hurry! You only have until August 27th to let them know you’ve got their backs! If we don’t show massive public support for this regulation, we could permanently lose access to legal, safe cannabis in most of California.
Deb Tharp is a cannabis activist, consultant, and writer. She began her cannabis activism at the age of 18, helping local candidates campaign door-to-door in the Midwest. Little did she know that the plant would save her husband's life a decade later. After watching him recover 60 pounds to his skeletal frame in a matter of months, she was convinced that the war on weed must end.
She ran for State Assembly in 2010 while completing her bachelor's degree at University of California, Irvine. During her campaign, she managed to bring cannabis legalization to the forefront of the debate. Little more than a year later, she was publicly arrested while gathering signatures for a cannabis ballot initiative in Orange County. She fired back at the county by qualifying Measure CC in Santa Ana under Kandice Hawes' of OC Norml’s expert leadership.
In the following years, she authored, qualified and helped to qualify over a dozen local legalization ballot initiatives across the state while teaching other activists how to do the same.
She currently writes for Nugg, the nation's largest online cannabis marketplace, while pursuing her law degree at Taft Law School and will graduate in 2021.