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California Lawmakers Working to Stem Tide of Cannabis Cultivation Bans

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State lawmakers, local jurisdictions and medical cannabis producers in California are wrestling with new legislation that regulates how medical marijuana producers are licensed in the state.

A paragraph in the 70-page framework makes the state the sole licensing authority unless a jurisdiction has enacted its own legislation that expressly authorizes or bans medical cannabis production. The law makes March 1st the deadline to enact such legislation, a deadline which lawmakers say was added by mistake as they sought to come to a compromise.

“It was a way to try to make it clearer in terms of, ‘OK, local jurisdictions. If you want to act, you should be thinking about it, working on it now. Otherwise, we will all defer to the state,'” said spokesperson Liz Snow on behalf of Assemblyman Jim Wood.

The deadline led local jurisdictions to scramble to enact bans on cannabis production. In response, Assemblyman Wood, who represents some of California’s most prominent marijuana-producing regions, is seeking to repeal the deadline.

“It is crucially important the deadline is repealed as soon as possible,” said Wood. “I am confident we will get this done soon.”

On Monday the Senate approved Wood’s Assembly Bill 21 by a 35-3 vote. The bill would slow the rush to ban cannabis production.

Although they supported the bill, The League of California Cities and the California Association of Police Chiefs still advised members to pass bans before the original March 1st deadline.