A recent cannabis hearing in Los Angeles had pot czar, Lori Ajax, admitting that the marijuana industry is in a state of confusion.
She was commenting after chairing a hearing at which the difficulties and uncertainties surrounding the country’s fledgling and lucrative marijuana industry were tabled.The hearing was held to evaluate the opinions of cross-spectrum industry players as California considers streamlining its pot rules and regulations. Those invited to table their concerns included activists, business owners, consumers and lawyers who were given 90 seconds in which to tell Ajax their tales of woe.
Ajax, who is the top marijuana regulator as chief of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (CBCC), conceded that the state was currently in a “challenging transition period”. This state of confusion had emerged while attempting to transform a once-illegal market into a regulated multi-billion-dollar industry, she said.
A number of pertinent issues were raised at the hearing. Among these were:
- Illicit sales continue unabated
- Hiccups with supply chains
- Stock shortages in retail outlets
- Problems with testing the quality of pre-sale marijuana
- Problems with new packaging regulations
Weed delivery services to banned areas
But perhaps the biggest issue of all was that of pot deliveries to private homes in cities that have slapped outright bans on the substance. Speakers said this proposal could lead to courtroom actions while the League of California Cities pointed out that the proposal would allow unchecked home marijuana delivery services in areas that have banned the sale of pot within their boundaries.
Antagonists believe that if this proposal becomes law it will create an unstable market highlighted by illegal deals, while protagonists are fighting for the right of every Californian to have access to legal pot.
Antagonist Mina Layba said home deliveries would undercut retail outlets and questioned where the tax benefits from these sales would be directed.
However, marijuana home deliveries are needed by patients who are unable to travel to legal retail outlets says advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access. Their spokeswoman, Sarah Armstrong, told the hearing that the sick and the frail were also American citizens with legal rights. She said home deliveries were essential, particularly in those areas that are not served by legal retail outlets.
The somewhat heated discussion resulted from the CBCC seeking clarification on its existing regulation that licensed marijuana delivery services can be made to “any jurisdiction” in California.
Streamlined rules and regulations
The hearing lasted for more than two hours during which time Ajax listened to the complaints and suggestions of industry players to help to guide the CBCC into a more streamlined and fair system of regulating the booming marijuana marketplace. Ajax listened to complaints about big businesses that threaten to shut down smaller enterprises, the shortage of sufficient operating licenses, problems with the present rules for laboratory testing to ensure the good quality of pre-sale marijuana products, and problems being encountered with the state’s new pot packaging laws.
Since legalizing recreational pot in January 2018, California’s legal system has created a mishmash of local laws that have left marijuana industry players confused. The interpretation of these rules and regulations can become somewhat bewildering because while some cities have embraced legal pot, others have firmly said NO to anything to do with marijuana.
While the hearing has the given the public a better insight into the issues clouding the California marijuana present-day landscape, the chances of any speedy revisions to existing rules and regulations seem unlikely and it is generally believed that several months will go by before the CBCC will put any of its reforms into motion.