Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Medical marijuana industry considers transportation challenges ahead

Marijuana grower Basil McMahon inspects his crop in Grass Valley on Nov. 12, 2015.
Marijuana grower Basil McMahon inspects his crop in Grass Valley on Nov. 12, 2015. rbenton@sacbee.com

A prohibition on weed farmers transporting their own product to dispensaries is among the many challenges the industry is grappling with as it prepares for the start of California’s first medical marijuana regulations next year. While some growers believe it will provide them a more reliable pathway to market, others worry it will give too much control to distributors.

So how can California make the new system work? Is there anything to be learned from Colorado (which also permits third-party pot couriers) and Washington (where outside carriers are not allowed), the first states to legalize recreational marijuana?

Board of Equalization members Fiona Ma and George Runner will host a meeting with groups affected by the law – including Meadow and SpeedWeed medical marijuana delivery services, the California Teamsters union, and the California Highway Patrol – 10 a.m. at the board’s headquarters on N Street.

IMMIGRATION INERTIA: A year ago today, President Barack Obama announced a sweeping executive action to halt the deportation of nearly 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally. The plan has been extremely controversial, spurring Republican talks of another government shutdown, and was recently blocked in federal court. To mark the anniversary, immigrant rights advocates, faith groups and community organizations – led by the labor union SEIU – will gather at noon outside the John E. Moss Federal Building on Capitol Mall to call for a comprehensive federal immigration law that includes a pathway to citizenship.

REVERSAL OF FORTUNES: Earlier this month, California broke ground on its first major project to help save the troubled Salton Sea, an enormous inland lake in the Imperial and Coachella valleys that has been shrinking for decades and threatens to become an environmental hazard. By next March, the California Natural Resources Agency is required to have a list of other “shovel-ready” restoration projects for the Legislature. Assemblymen Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, and Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, will participate in a roundtable discussion on those efforts with the Salton Sea Authority, 2 p.m. at the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club in Mecca.

CH-CH-CHANGES: Farewell to Geoff Long, policy director for Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who is retiring this month after more than three decades in the Legislature. De León’s deputy chief of staff, Lisa Chin, will take over the position on Dec 1.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to former state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who turns 67 today. He faces sentencing next month for one felony count of racketeering.

READ MORE: California pot farmers wrestle with new medical marijuana rules

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