The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) will allow access to cannabis throughout the state, as Prop 64 intended, if we can keep this addition to the BCC’s proposed permanent regulation package: Sec. 5416 (d) A delivery employee may deliver to any jurisdiction within the State of California.
What you’ll learn in this post:
(Click any of the section titles below to jump right to it)
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.email@example.com and let them know that you support their implementation of delivery in Sec. 5416(d).
But hurry! Youonly 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.
On March 7, 2017, Los Angeles City voters will be choosing new candidates to run their city and voting on several ballot measures. Two of these measures would allow the city to regulate cannabis businesses in response to the recent passage of Prop 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in California.
These two are Measure M and Measure N.
Measure N: the Initiative That Sparked Measure M
Measure N is a citizen’s initiative that was created and qualified by several of the cannabis business owners operating under L.A.’s current limited immunity rules.
Measure N would establish specific rules for the commercial regulation and taxation of marijuana in L.A. and would prevent the council from making any additional changes to the regulations without specific approval from the voters. In short, Measure N would:
Give priority licensing to the current established medical marijuana dispensaries that are complying with existing law.
Maintain 135 dispensaries and allow the City Council to increase the number of dispensaries but not decrease them.
Allow the city to issue Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) related permits including manufacturing, cultivation, and sale.
Limit enforcement options against permit holders who violate the operational standards and guidelines.
Allow sales of recreational marijuana by permit holders at an 8% tax rate.
Because Measure N also takes power away from the city to make certain changes to these laws, a voter initiative would be required if changes became necessary.
A Two-Tiered Enforcement System?
Measure N also creates a two-tiered enforcement system for violators of the city’s regulations. This system would establish criminal penalties for those who don’t hold licenses, but only allow for a misdemeanor to be levied against permit holders who violate these same regulations after a series of other penalties are levied:
1st violation: a correction letter
2nd violation: a two year period of infraction
3rd violation: a two year period of permit suspension
4th violation: misdemeanor
Therefore, the initiative would allow for criminal penalties to be levied against non-permit holders only. It’s possible this type of enforcement system would face legal review.
The proponents of Measure N have now abandoned their support of the initiative in favor of the city’s counter-initiative—Measure M.
Measure M: the Council’s Counter-Initiative
Measure M was created by the City Council in response to the qualification of Measure N. Since the City Council’s countermeasure seems to strike a compromise that the proponents of Measure N found acceptable, they have abandoned Measure N and thrown their full support behind the City Council’s Measure M.
Measure M will give the City Council the power to tax and regulate Los Angeles’s marijuana industry under the rules of Prop 64, which is now law.
Unlike Measure N, with Measure M the City Council will retain the authority to amend existing regulations and adopt new ones. But there’s a catch—they must conduct public hearingswith the citizens first.
These public hearings will focus on commercialization of recreational and medical cannabis, and how license applications for current compliant businesses will be processed, among other topics.
Measure M will also authorize:
New criminal penalties for violations.
New nuisance abatement rules.
Increase in fines for use of power and water with non-compliant cannabis activity.
Disconnection of power and water for non-compliant cannabis activity.
New business taxes which include: -A 10% tax on gross recreational sales. -A 5% tax on gross medical sales (this is a 1% reduction from the current level). -A 1% tax on transportation, testing or research sales. -A 2% tax on manufacturing, cultivation and other commercial activity.
Why Are These Measures Necessary? Isn’t it Already Legal?
Measure D was a simple limited immunity measure. Basically it provides prosecution immunity to a select group of people who were legally operating cannabis dispensaries before a certain date—IF they followed a specific set of rules.
Since the state now requires dispensary applicants to show proof of city licensing or other positive approval of operations, an agreement not to prosecute does not qualify L.A.’s current operators to apply for a state license. Additionally, specific licenses are necessary for cultivation, transport, testing, manufacturing and other activities.
Los Angeles must pave the way for new business licensing if cannabis businesses are to survive in the city under the new state regulations.
Why Didn’t L.A. Offer Business Licenses in the First Place?
Los Angeles, like many other California cities and counties, was reticent to issue business licenses to dispensaries because marijuana is still considered illegal on a federal level. These attitudes are changing now as medical marijuana is legal in more than half the states in the U.S., and is fully legal in seven states and Washington D.C.
Council president Herb Wesson spearheaded the effort to put the countermeasure on the ballot, which is now endorsed by Police Chief Beck and Police Union head, Craig Lally.
With the passage of Prop 64, many local municipalities are jumping to ensure they have taken full control of their licensing authority before the state begins handing out official business licenses in 2018.
Others are working just as hard to ensure that marijuana businesses will not be allowed at all in their communities.
Long story short—Los Angeles wisely opted for regulation.
On November 8, 2016, Proposition 64 was approved by California voters, making recreational marijuana legal for adults age 21 and over. The new law, dubbed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA for short), designates state agencies to license and regulate cannabis, imposes taxes at both the cultivation and retail level, and allows for local regulation and taxation of cannabis, among other things.
But now that recreational pot is legal in California, can you just buy marijuana from any dispensary, or do you still need a medical marijuana card in CA to actually make purchases?
The short answer is no. Recreational shops won’t start serving anyone until at least January, 2018, though it could take up to a year before you can legally walk into a recreational dispensary. Until then, you’ll still need a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis.
This brings up A LOT of questions for medical marijuana patients and recreational users alike. We’ve updated this info for 2018’s upcoming recreational legalization.
Many of us are brimming with questions, though (ironically) correct answers are hard to come by. But fear not; this post will arm you with all the answers you need going into 2018.
A few uncertainties we’ll clarify include:
How do you buy recreational marijuana in California now that it’s legalized?
What if you’re a medical cannabis patient in California? Is your patient-status affected?
Do you still need a medical marijuana card in 2018?
Do you need to renew your MMJ card, and, if so, will the process change or stay the same?
Do I Still Need a Medical Marijuana Card in California if Cannabis Is Legal?
To be blunt, yes, but it’s actually a lot easier to get your med card than you might think (we would know).
Now that the Proposition 64 has passed, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) as dubbed by its supporters, you might think that you’ll be able to walk into the nearest 7-Eleven and get a pack of joints.
Unfortunately, recreational pot shops won’t legally be allowed to serve consumers until at least January, 2018–though that date’s expected to be pushed back. Not to mention any store with a liquor license will be barred from acquiring a recreational marijuana business license under AUMA.
Why can’t I purchase recreational marijuana until 2018 in California?
Well, that’s an easy one. It’s because new government regulations always take forever to implement, and are rarely ever completed in the initially estimated time frames.
Now that Prop 64 passed, the Bureau for Medical Cannabis Regulation (as established by MCRSA) will be renamed the “Bureau of Marijuana Control” and won’t be slated to start issuing licenses to marijuana businesses until January 1, 2018.
But, according to Lynne Lyman, the director for California’s Drug Policy Alliance and one of the people who helped write the initiative, January 1st is the latest possible date that licenses can start being issued. That timeline has since been slowed down as the new year grows closer.
So, unless you’ve got the courage to hold-off until sometime in 2018 to soak (and smoke) in the marvel that is the California cannabis industry, you’re still going to need a medical cannabis recommendation.
But this shouldn’t come as a worry or a burden, as getting a medical weed card easily allows you to:
obtain cannabis at 18 years old
access over 1,000 California medical cannabis dispensaries
save 14-20% on marijuana costs using medical cannabis
purchase, possess, and grow (within 100 square feet) as much medical cannabis as necessary to treat your condition at home.
protect yourself from police harassment and arrest for possessing, growing or transporting medical cannabis for personal use.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card After Legalization
Thanks to the passing of Proposition 215, otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act, California has legally allowed marijuana for medical uses since 1996, as long as a patient has a physician’s recommendation.
And special credit goes to the writers of Prop 215, who crafted the measure to state that medical cannabis can be used to treat “any condition for which marijuana provides relief.”
This quite literally means that anyone who can claim marijuana helps improve their physical or mental well-being qualifies to become a marijuana patient in California. And contrary to popular opinion, you actually do NOT need a California ID to become a patient in the state. It’s shocking how false claims spread the quickest.
All you need is a valid driver’s license or state ID from ANY state, and any condition for which medical marijuana provides you relief.
One of the co-authors for Prop 215, Dennis Peron, is considered the “father of the legalization movement” and said himself that the measure was intended to allow “literally everyone in the state the opportunity to legally access and cultivate as much cannabis as they need to feel good.”
And while California does have its own cannabis ID card program, you are not required to possess a state-issued ID to be considered a legal patient. All you need is a doctor’s recommendation.
So, knowing that the only way to currently access cannabis is by getting a marijuana recommendation, how do you get one? We saved the best for last, so skip there if you just can’t wait to become a legal patient.
Ask Your Primary Doctor
The first (and admittedly the most intimidating) option you have to get a MMJ recommendation is to ask your primary physician. If he or she can at least have an honest discussion about how cannabis might be beneficial for your condition, you’re on the right track.
But, unfortunately, even with Prop 64 on the ballot and medical marijuana having been long-established in California, the majority of traditional doctors still won’t write you a recommendation for marijuana. Some people have stories of completely severed relationships with their doctor just because they posed the question.
So, before you muster up the courage to ask your doctor directly, and risk potential consequence, understand that you have two other options.
Visit a Medical Marijuana Doctor Evaluation Center
With the sad reality being that most American physicians don’t write patients weed prescriptions, a new type of specialized doctor has emerged, a “cannabis specialist” if you will.
These medical marijuana doctors go by many names — 420 doctors, pot doctors, weed doctors, mmj doctors, green doctors, prop 215 doctors — the list goes on and on. And while some are noticeably more legitimate than others, they all cater to the massive California population that wants to legally use cannabis with a med card.
You can google “medical marijuana evaluations near me,” which brings up a few local listings on Yelp or Weedmaps. Then you scroll through these options, check out the reviews (some of which seem fake), prices, distances, and ultimately end up choosing the most convenient one.
When you finally visit the nearest cannabis doc, it feels similar to a typical doctor’s office. They’ll ask for your ID, if you’re a new patient or getting a renewal (recs are only valid for a year), then you’ll sit down to fill out a series of forms describing your condition and medical history.
Once finished, you’ll need to wait your turn to see the doctor. Depending on which evaluation center you visit (there are many scattered across major CA cities like San Jose, San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), wait times average anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes.
You’ll then sit down face-to-face with the doctor to determine if cannabis is right for you. If that’s indeed the case, you’ll be approved and issued your recommendation. But if you’re not approved, don’t be surprised if you’re charged a hefty anyway.
Unfortunately, just like with people asking their primary physician, there’s no shortage of horror stories from patients waiting hours for their mmj evaluation, encountering rude and uncompassionate doctors, being sold on extras they didn’t need, and even getting overcharged (the “bait-and-switch” is an all-too-common scam at evaluation centers) when getting their recommendation.
Needless to say, the in-person experience can leave much to be desired.
See a Medical Marijuana Doctor Online
We’re talking of course about the emergence of online evaluation services, ones that allow patients and doctors to connect virtually (either by video or phone call) to conduct a good-faith examination and get approved for medical cannabis without seeing the doctor in-person!
The entire process is quick, affordable, easy, and 100% legal thanks to California’s telemedicine health laws.
Typically, it goes like this: sign up online, provide basic personal and medical information then have a quick consultation with a pro-cannabis doctor to get approved. Then you’ll receive an instant electronic recommendation for same-day use (you must print it out) while your official paper copy (along with your NuggMD ID Card, if you opted for it) comes in the mail a few days later.
Yup, it’s THAT easy.
Now, there are several online mmj doctor services, but you’ll find the most value from NuggMD. The service started in 2015 and has since helped tens of thousands of patients get their medical marijuana card online and access cannabis delivery from quality dispensaries through their online marketplace platform, Nugg.
When stacked up against the competition, NuggMD just can’t be beat. Here’s what they offer:
The lowest online price for a recommendation, just $39.
An optional hard, plastic ID card (only $20 extra).
On-demand consultations, which means no appointment needed.
An instant electronic (PDF) recommendation that can be used immediately to order delivery online through Nugg-partnered cannabis dispensaries.
An official signed paper copy of your doctor’s recommendation with a raised, embossed seal that all CA dispensaries require (and many online med card services don’t provide).
$20 credit to order from ANY Nugg dispensary partner using the blog promo code BLOG20; you can literally get your MMJ card and cannabis delivered in the same hour.
Why Wait for Recreational’s Limitations?
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is sure to bring many changes, and challenges, to how the legal cannabis industry looks and works in California. From a consumer perspective, you still need a medical cannabis card to purchase marijuana until recreational pot shops open, which will not happen the first of January ’18.
But once you reap MMJ’s benefits and feel its long term value, you won’t want the hassle of being a recreational user.