This January (over a year after Prop 64 legalized cannabis for all adults), the California Bureau of Cannabis Control published the final regulations for retailers, distributors, and testing labs.
One of the “compromises” of Prop 64 was the local jurisdiction clause that granted cities and counties the right to allow – or ban – cannabusinesses as they see fit. And many only saw fit to ban — immediately. Over 70% of California cities and counties still prohibit all commercial cannabis activity, and many also heavily heavily restrict personal grows, sometimes being sued by citizens in response. (Amador County’s ordinance officially bans cannabis businesses “in order to preserve and protect the public health, safety, and welfare of residents”, which is ironic considering the giant new casino that just opened in Ione, to the dismay of many of said residents.)
Banning retailers from opening somewhere is one thing.
If a small California town struggling to find new sources of revenue doesn’t want to take advantage of this booming new industry with the jobs and tax dollars it will undoubtedly generate, that’s within their rights. It’s unfortunate though, especially considering that a huge number of California adults (and medical patients) live more than 60 miles away from a licensed cannabis retailer. In this rural area, many folks are simply without the means to travel long distances for their cannabis. How fair (and safe) is it to force them to the black market?
Luckily, in their final published text of rules, state regulators saw fit to affirm that legal cannabis can be delivered to any jurisdiction in California (provided that the destination is a physical address, not on public land or a K-12 school, etc). This clarification gave both legal operators and California citizens alike a sigh of relief. It’s a city’s prerogative to ban a cannabis retailer from acquiring a business license to operate within their boundaries, but prohibiting residents from having perfectly legal and licensed products delivered to their home? That’s not what the local jurisdiction clause is about, and thankfully California officials realized that.
You may have heard the news that a few cities are now suing California for allowing cannabis to (gasp!) be transported on “their” roads. According to the plaintiffs, they’re concerned about safety, as well as the legitimacy of the businesses that are delivering said cannabis to consumers in their towns.
As a licensed, legal, reputable retailer that has jumped through every hoop set out by both the state of California and Calaveras County (where we operate), we’ve already proven that our business is safe and legitimate, and we’ve been safely delivering cannabis to Calaveras and Tuolumne residents for six years now without a single incident. Our drivers are tracked in real time with GPS, they are background-checked and verified by the Calaveras County Sheriff, and we have provided our detailed delivery procedures to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, as required, for approval.
These cities should be worried about the black market.
The local black market (the destructive, mold-ridden home grows, high school drug deals, and dangerous honey oil labs we read about daily in the news) is entirely enabled by jurisdictions’ bans on commercial activity (or their restrictions and arbitrary selectivity regarding new businesses seeking to open there).
Consumer choice and freedom is absolutely crucial if the legal market is going to succeed, and California officials saw that when finalizing these regulations. We are confident that the lawsuit will fail, and hope that the cities involved choose to embrace cannabis business going forward, instead of digging their heels in deeper into various forms of prohibition.
Imagine any other business that might deliver goods to you – a hardware store in a neighboring county, for example. What if you suddenly had to pay an extra tax simply for living in a county without a hardware store, or worse – weren’t “allowed” to request delivery? That’s not how it works.
Stay tuned for updates on this issue; we will post about them here.