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How much can you buy? California’s proposed medical marijuana rules broken down

jwalker@fresnobee.com

Californians now have their first look at what will likely be the rules imposed on the 21-year-old medical cannabis industry.

The California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation released the first draft of its medical cannabis regulations on Friday. There will now be a 45-day comment period on the 54-page draft.

The regulations were required by the Medical Cannabis Safety and Regulation Act, which was approved in the legislature and by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015.

These rules could be altered in favor of comprehensive regulations that combine the requirements of the Cannabis Safety Act and Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana in November. The California State Assembly is discussing a “trailer” bill that would do exactly that.

However, Bureau Chief Lori Ajax said many of the regulations shared Friday will likely carry over. The bureau regulates most marijuana-related activity save for cultivation, which is regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The cultivation regulations are quite similar and can be found online.

Since most of these rules are likely here to stay, here are some of the more interesting regulations from the first draft.

You can buy a ton of medical weed

Dispensaries can sell no more than eight ounces of cannabis to a single patient in a single day. But that’s like – a freezer bag’s worth. I’m told that an ounce of medium-quality medical cannabis currently sells for about $100-125 through delivery services in Fresno, so limiting sales to about $1,000 worth per person per day is probably fair.

BUT YOU CAN STILL GET MORE THAN EIGHT OUNCES IF YOU HAVE A DOCTOR’S NOTE.

Yes, a physician’s recommendation will allow dispensaries to sell “an amount of medical cannabis consistent with the patient’s needs.”

The bureau also will also require all dispensaries to maintain a log of all non-employees entering the building. Dispensaries can only be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and all cannabis goods must be stored in a safe or vault while the business is closed.

No free samples

Section 5178.a prohibits giving out free samples to anyone.

Pot drones are explicitly prohibited

So is bicycle transportation. The regulations ban transportation of medical cannabis by air, water, drone, rail, human-powered vehicles and unmanned vehicles. Sorry, Bay Area. No Waymo marijuana fleets.

The same rules apply to dispensaries delivering marijuana to private residences. Delivery to public property is prohibited. Drivers also can’t carry more than $3,000 worth of cannabis at any time.

Cannabis workers may unionize

One section of the application requirements notes: “For an applicant with 20 or more employees, the applicant shall attest that the applicant has entered into a labor peace agreement and provide a copy of the agreement.” It doesn’t say “union,” but it seems likely workers may soon start forming the “Local 420” workers’ unions.

Cops can participate

The new law prohibits employees from the California Department of Justice, district attorney’s offices, police departments, sheriff’s offices or the State Department of Consumer Affairs from receiving a license if their duties involve the enforcement of state marijuana laws.

However, local law enforcement personnel can own a pot businesses outside of the county where they’re employed.

The local control provisions are there

The applications must include proof from a city or county governments that a company is allowed to distribute, test or grow marijuana and are in good standing with said jurisdiction.

And so are rules about distance from schools

Dispensary applicants must also prove their proposed location is at least 600 feet away from a school.

Dispensaries must use child-safe packaging

It must also be opaque, so as to shield the contents. If the product is intended for multiple uses, it must also be resealable.

Not everyone gets a background check

The first section of the proposed law deals with establishing just who will be required to file an application for state licensure. It defines an owner as a chief executive officer or anyone who owns 5 percent or more of a publicly traded company or 20 percent or more of a private one.

It also defines managers as owners in so many words. Anyone with authority to hire/fire, buy/sell cannabis or make policy decisions falls under the owner category.

Banks and financial institutions who give a business a loan are not considered owners.

Each “owner” will have to submit an application with a variety of typical licensure requirements, including contact information, financial disclosures and specifics about the proposed business. They must also share any criminal convictions, save for juvenile records or minor traffic infractions that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. For each conviction, they must write a letter that provides evidence of their rehabilitation and says why they should be approved.

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