California Update: Issues to be Worked Out Include Cannabis Delivery and Equity

California Update: Issues to be Worked Out Include Cannabis Delivery and Equity

As the nation’s largest legal cannabis market, a great deal rests on the collective Californian shoulders of those tasked with setting up fair and reasonable regulations.

The first of three public hearings, hosted by California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) that will go on across the state, got underway in Los Angeles on Aug. 14, 2018 with that intention in mind: to discuss the proposed non-emergency regulations published in July.

Dozens of marijuana business owners, industry lawyers, activists and consumers each got 90 seconds to tell California’s cannabis regulator, Lori Ajax,

what needed to be done to create a fair and prosperous marketplace.

What are the main issues? Cannabis deliveries, or lack thereof, and how to develop an equitable industry to include those who have been most affected by the war of drugs.

Cannabis Deliveries

The Los Angeles Times points out that while California law allows adults to buy marijuana, allows licensed businesses to deliver the products to customers, and that cities and counties cannot prevent these delivery services from traveling on public roads...many cities are nevertheless in the process of banning deliveries to their jurisdictions.

“That means that unlike deliveries of virtually every other legal, adult-use product — including alcohol and cigarettes, which can be ordered over the internet in California — marijuana deliveries are barred,” writes the LA Times, noting that the practical effect is that residents in certain places have no access to legal medical or recreational cannabis because of local regulations, essentially in violation of the intent of Proposition 64.

Nearly half of Californians live in cities or counties that prohibit these delivery services from functioning in their jurisdictions, which means, according to the Sacramento Bee: residents in 40% of the state have to drive 60 miles or more to find a licensed dispensary to buy legal medical or recreational cannabis.

Social Justice

The second issue of profound concern is the absence of social equity measures in the BCC’s proposed regulations.

Fanny Guzmán, of Latinos for Cannabis, asked what steps the bureau was taking to repair the harms of cannabis prohibition on communities of color.

“The regs include expedited processing for veterans. Why can’t those kinds of opportunities be made available to people who have been impacted by the war on drugs?” asked Guzmán.

While Guzmán’s question opened a discussion, it seems that it will take much more than three public hearings to sort out this issue. Meanwhile, let’s keep asking the question.

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