Big Changes are Coming to California’s Medical Marijuana


California’s billion-dollar medical cannabis industry was for years overseen by local governments. Everyone complained about this “anything-goes” environment, but it wasn’t until now that things came under a statewide regulatory system. It will happen through a package of bills that Gov. Jerry Brown signed couple of days ago, calling the framework “long-overdue.”

A robust tracking system

“This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system,” Brown wrote in a signing statement. This regulation happens nearly two decades after California legalized medical marijuana, which was a period during which cities and counties have struggled to regulate multiplying dispensaries and vast outdoor grow sites. It’s safe to assume that California’s medical marijuana industry operated as a laissez-faire entity with little government regulation. Now, the governor’s signature on SB643 will change all that.

What can patients expect?

Many of the new regulations won’t become operational until 2018, however, Brown doesn’t want to wait and has made it clear he would direct state agencies responsible for managing the cannabis industry to “begin working immediately with experts and stakeholders on crafting clear guidelines.” Some of the changes Californians can expect to happen between now and 2018 include a robust system of licensing, tracking, and testing. Following that, agencies will be chosen to oversee cultivation, processing, transport, and sale of cannabis products. Cannabis itself will be categorized as an agricultural good and held to strict standards for production.


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