Stalwart Drug Warrior, State Senator Jim Nielsen criticizes cannabis bill

In the words of California State Senator Jim Nielsen a budget trailer bill passed on June 16 contains "one of the most sweeping public policy changes in our history, dating to the very origins of our state and private property rights. In this case water rights."
Following approval of the California state budget, the state legislature took up a series of trailer bills. Several of these bills (AB 1609, SB 837 and SB 839) contained provisions related to the implementation of last years Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.
The California Growers Association has communicated our appreciation and strong support for the budget trailer provisions to dozens of lawmakers over recent weeks and days. 

We have remained engaged with the administration and legislative leadership throughout the development of this legislation. This legislation has been a significant focus of our work in 2016.

Passage of this legislation helps to clarify several points, providing certainty to the regulatory community. Additionally, passage has reduced unnecessary procedural challenges that threaten to exacerbate the already monumental challenge associated with transitioning this large and diverse industry to full regulation and compliance.

As our industry transitions, one of the organization’s core principles is to ensure a well-regulated and licensed cannabis marketplace. This legislation presents real solutions to the critical challenges facing cannabis cultivators in California. 

The legislations includes several major accomplishments on behalf of our members: 


Cleanup language in the trailer bill will prevent the potentially disastrous unintended consequences of the distributor:

  • Clarifies that "a cultivator shall not be required to send medical cannabis to a distributor if the medical cannabis is to be used, sold, or otherwise distributed by methods approved pursuant to this chapter by a manufacturer for further manufacturing."
  • Authorizes cultivators to transport "from a cultivation site to a manufacturer or a distributor."
  • Authorizes manufacturers to transport:
    • Between a cultivation site and a manufacturing site
    • Between a manufacturing site and a manufacturing site.
    • Between a manufacturing site and a distributor.


  • Clarify provisions establishing “appellations” and clarify that administration and development of regulations will be by the Department of Food and Agriculture

Improving track and trace provisions

  • The language creates a much-needed definition for “batch and lot” and helps create regulatory certainty and a workable track and trace model that will provided needed flexibility to California’s diverse growers.
  • Shifts the development and administration of “track-and-trace” at the Department of Food and Agriculture to ensure the system remains farmer-friendly and we support the
  • Involves the Board of Equalization in developing the system. 

Emergency and interim regulations

  • Authorize agencies and departments to adopt interim and emergency regulations in order to meet MMRSA implementation goals and timelines.

Watershed and streamflow protections

  • Ensures appropriate and streamlined natural resource protections by modifying “1600 LSA” agreements and other provisions related to water. These provisions will result in significant efficiencies and greater protection of water resources through increased participation in the regulated marketplace.