Today, California Growers Association, announced support for Assembly Bill 21, by Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), to correct the erroneous March 1 deadline in last year’s landmark cannabis legislation. This support is based on the legislation as amended in committee last week.
The March 1 deadline, which required cities and counties to establish cultivation ordinances by that date or risk forfeiting authority to the state Department of Food and Agriculture, was supposed to be removed from final editions of the legislative package signed by Gov. Brown.
Through an accidental oversight, the date was not removed before the law was published. Counties and cities across California have subsequently cited the March 1 date as motivation for new cultivation bans.
“Every ban that is passed represents hundreds of small farms destroyed and families uprooted.” Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director of Cal Growers, said. “Regulation is the solution to the problems in the cannabis industry. Without local permits we will see more environmental crimes and more violence if the March 1 deadline is not addressed immediately.”
While AB 21 has received wide support from law enforcement, local governments and the cannabis industry, it has been opposed by the Drug Policy Alliance and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU would like AB 21 to prevent counties and cities from enacting cultivation bans for personal medical cannabis. Wood and colleagues are working to address the personal use question.
“We are very sympathetic to the points the opposition has raised,” Allen said. “We are confident in the State Legislature’s ability to address these concerns, and we are ready to offer our strong support for legislation that would mitigate these concerns. Our support for AB 21 is contingent upon a solution to the concerns raised by the DPA and ACLU.”
AB 21 will be heard by the State Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, January 20.