Published on December 20th, 2015 | by KCRA
medical marijuana dispensary in East Sacramento sees new regulation as chance
In the ever-evolving industry of medical marijuana, Sacramento finds itself playing catch-up with the state government after Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law three new bills creating new regulations on the industry.
The laws, known collectively as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, give cities the chance to create their own regulations on 17 new subcategories within the industry. They range from specialties like marijuana cultivation and transportation, to testing and distribution.
However, if cities don’t create their own rules quickly, the state will do it for them.
The first deadline is March 1 and encompasses laws governing cultivation.
“We just want to do it right, and what makes sense for Sacramento,” Sacramento Revenue Manager Brad Wasson said.
Wasson has been tasked to reach out to dispensary owners and help create a framework for where they think medical marijuana can grow within the city.
“The recommendation is in agricultural, and in industrial and in commercial zones,” Wasson said, adding the plan calls for indoor growing only.
The cultivation permit guidelines are set to go before both the planning commission and city council in January. If the guidelines pass through seamlessly, they would likely meet the March deadline.
Currently, the city collects about $2 million in tax revenue from dispensaries each year at a 4 percent tax rate.
“Because they were able to get benefits from that, they now want to recognize and regulate the rest of the industry itself,” California Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Nate Bradley said.
At a time where some California cities are choosing to ban medical marijuana altogether, Bradley believes Sacramento’s willingness to work with the industry sends a message to the rest of the state.
“We are no longer just criminals in their eyes, we are business people,” he said. “We want to pay taxes, we want regulations, we want to be treated like everybody else — and the city of Sacramento is doing that for us.”
At A Therapeutic Alternative, a medical marijuana dispensary in East Sacramento, board member Kimberly Cargile sees the new regulation as a chance to expand her retail business into a cultivation business as well.
“Our goal is to have as many permits available in the city of Sacramento so we could have a large variety of cultivators and a large variety of manufacturers to ensure that our patients have access to the biggest variety of products available,” Cargile said.