A legislative drafting error has caused local governments in California to act post-haste to fix what would be a ban on marijuana cultivation in the state. Gov. Jerry Brown signed an emergency bill to fix the problem just days ago.
The legislation, AB21, proposed by Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood of Healdsburg, would amend the comprehensive medical marijuana regulations that the California Legislature passed in September. It would:
“eliminate a paragraph giving the state alone authority to license pot growers in jurisdictions that did not have laws on the books by March 1 specifically allowing or outlawing cultivation.” 
Desiring to set their own policies, dozens of cities chose to ban all pot-growing by commercially-licensed growers within their borders over the last several months. Some also prohibited authorized medical marijuana users from growing their own pot. Dozens more were scheduled to decide on the issue in the next few weeks.
The deadline for final regulations regarding pot growing was a legislative mistake. With the emergency legislation, local municipalities now have time to decide, without pressure, if they are going to allow commercial pot use, since the state is not going to issue licenses, likely until 2018.
Proponents of medical marijuana hope this will give city officials time to have an open dialogue with residents about marijuana so that bans are not arbitrarily put in place. Those against medical marijuana sales want to hurry the process on the ban.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, but lawmakers only last year endorsed a framework that sets statewide licensing and operating rules for marijuana dispensaries, product manufacturers, growers and every other aspect of the state’s growing pot industry.
The California departments of agriculture, health, and consumer affairs are starting to draft regulations that licensees will have to follow.
Voters can review a ballot initiative expected this November that would also legalize recreational marijuana sales to adults 21 and over.