Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California pot farmers weigh a regulated world

A pot farm in Calaveras County, seen in June 2016.
A pot farm in Calaveras County, seen in June 2016. aseng@sacbee.com

California’s heralded new medical marijuana regulations have already experienced some growing pains.

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed long-sought measures that empower the state to oversee every aspect of the booming medical marijuana trade. While a new pot czar started learning the ropes, farmers who have for decades cultivated their plants under fear of a crackdown contemplated what it would mean to come into the light.

Scarcely had the bill been signed before cities and counties began rushing to ban cultivation ahead of an accidentally imposed deadline that required some urgent followup legislation. The tweaking has continued, with Brown getting bills this year to create small-scale “cottage” growing licenses and to adjust Los Angeles to a newly licensed reality. Bills to tax cultivators and to amend last year’s package of new rules didn’t make it that far.

As the Legislature chips away, regulators rumble under deadlines toward issuing new rules. The California Department of Food and Agriculture, whose duties will include regulating growers and devising a “seed-to-sale” system for tracking plants, is holding a public workshop today on the environmental effects. Expect some cannabis cultivators with a lot of questions at the Convention Center from 4 p.m. 7 p.m.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Brown bemoans a lack of valor in today’s society.

BY THE NUMBERS: Marijuana legalization foes announced getting $200,000 richer on Monday. No on Prop 64 reported the infusion from the campaign arm of national anti-legalization outfit Smart Approaches to Marijuana, days after SAM reported getting $1.3 million from a single donor.

POLITICAL CLIMATE: For a moment there, it seemed like top legislative environmentalist Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, might not get to see aide Henry Stern succeed her in the 27th Senate District. Outside money poured into the primary, with business groups backing Democratic contender Janice Kamenir-Reznik over Stern in the latest example of business interests seeking to push a chosen Democrat through the primary in safe districts. But Stern emerged the winner of a five-Democrat vote split and today he’ll get a big endorsement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris during a Reseda presser focused on his environmental record.

BILLING PROCESS: Business groups and good government advocates will share a stage at the California Chamber of Commerce headquarters today for an event promoting Proposition 54, a measure championed by conservative benefactor Charles Munger, Jr. which seeks to prevent opaque last-minute policymaking by requiring bills to be public for 72 hours before a vote. Organizations with representatives planning to speak at the 11 a.m. conference include California Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, the National Federation of Independent Business and the League of California Cities.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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