California's Medical Cannabis Community met with regulators in Oakland.

California's Medical Cannabis Community

California’s Medical Cannabis Community met with Regulators in Oakland. Monday was the Oakland pre-regulatory meeting of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) and the Office of Medical Cannabis Safety (OMCS), leaving just three more public meetings before the various state agencies responsible for filling in the blanks left by the passage of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) begin to fill in said gaps and draft the regulations which they aim to introduce on January 1st, 2018. The purpose of these pre-regulatory meetings is to collect input from the various stakeholders who attend about the generalities and specifics of the MCRSA. At today’s meeting there was no representation for cultivation because that is handled by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, who is holding their own pre-regulatory meetings; if you are interested in cultivation you only have two meetings left (see the end of this article for details).

Some background on today’s meeting was provided by the BMCR/OMCS, “In 2015, the Legislature passed and the governor signed into law three bills (Assembly Bills 243 and 266, Senate Bill 643) that created California’s first regulatory framework for medical cannabis. It is anticipated that the regulations will be developed by January 1st, 2018.” It was made clear very early on that this was not a meeting about Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, as the BMCR and OMCS have little to do with that; this was a meeting about MCRSA. It was also clarified that it was not a meeting for decision making, as no one is currently ready to make a decision, they are merely seeking information. The BMCR/OMCS were realistic about the divisions that exist within the cannabis industry and did “not expect any consensus,” instead they wanted “to collect the breadth of opinions out there.” One final point of clarification was that the BMCR/OMCS does not have the ability to change the law itself, they only implement it; to change the law, patients would need to speak to their state legislators, or potentially pass a voter initiative to amend the MCRSA.

Unfortunately, there are no more opportunities for California’s Medical Cannabis Community to meet with regulators, as all of the remaining meetings are fully booked. While they did allow for walk-ins at the Oakland meeting walk-ins are not being advertised and space is greatly limited at every remaining location. If you are a patient or activist who has been working to legalize cannabis since before it was a Green Rush, it is recommended that you attend one of these remaining meetings so the voice of your experience can be heard among the chorus of new Green Rushers coming into the fold. Given that patients themselves were not one of the stakeholders listed by OMCS director Dr. Asif Mann when he spoke on Monday (but CalOSHA got a mention), all patients who are able should try to attend these remaining meetings to make their voices heard, learn about the MCRSA, and how the BMCR/OMCS will “implement, interpret, and make specific the MCRSA.”

If you cannot make it to one of the three remaining meetings, do not despair because you can submit a comment online for the BMCR/OMCS to review and to potentially incorporate into their regulations. They request that comments be submitted by the end of October at the latest to ensure the greatest chance of them being included for review.

For more information on California Cannabis Regulations, and what transpired at when California’s Medical Cannabis Community met with Regulators in Oakland, contact Denver Consulting Group, the nation’s premier cannabis consulting company, providing marijuana businesses and start-ups with the tools and expertise needed to succeed.