SACRAMENTO (CN) - California Governor Jerry Brown signed a historic package of laws today to provide statewide regulations for the medical marijuana industry.
The bills - Assembly Bills 243 and 266 and Senate Bill 643 - are known together as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, and they "establish a long-overdue comprehensive framework for the production, transportation, and sale of medical marijuana," the governor wrote in his signing message to the California State Assembly.
A bipartisan group of state legislators urged the governor to sign the bill in September, saying the bills would provide a licensing structure for the industry, establish security, worker and safety standards and protect patient access, all under a combination of state and local control.
The new standards will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, but Brown wrote in his signing message that state agencies "will begin working immediately with experts and stakeholders on crafting clear guidelines, so local government, law enforcement, businesses, patients and health providers can prepare and adapt to the new regulated system."
"This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system," Brown said.
"This sends a clear and certain signal to our federal counterparts that California is implementing robust controls not only on paper, but in practice."
In a separate signing message, Brown also said that "unregulated marijuana cultivation poses one of the greatest threats to our fish and wildlife in the state."
He said he directs the Natural Resources Agency "to identify projects to begin the restoration of our most impacted areas in the state."
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