Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jan 2018
Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2018 The Fresno Bee
Note: Does not publish letters from outside their circulation area.
Author: Brad Branan


Recreational weed is now legal in California. So what does that

In January 2018, state and local authorities will begin issuing
licenses for the sale of legal recreational marijuana. But what do you
need to know before you rush to the dispensary? Information courtesy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has defied the will
of voters by allowing large-scale marijuana farms, a group
representing growers alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

At issue is a dispute that has divided the industry over whether the
state should prohibit sizable cultivation facilities for the first
five years of legalized retail marijuana sales, which started Jan. 1
of this year.

According to Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California
Growers Association, which filed the suit in Sacramento County
Superior Court, the farm-size caps are essential to stop the industry
from becoming "Big Tobacco 2.0" and protect the relatively small
growers he represents, particularly in Humboldt County and other
Northern California counties.

On the other side, Steve DeAngelo of Harborside, which has two large
Bay Area dispensaries and one of the biggest cultivation sites in the
state, has argued that larger grows will keep costs down, a necessity
with prices already going up due to taxes and other costs associated
with legalization.

The lawsuit states that Proposition 64, approved by voters in November
2016, was intended to "ensure the non-medical marijuana industry in
California will be built around small and medium sized businesses by
prohibiting large-scale cultivation licenses for the first five years."

That part of the proposition was excluded when the California
Department of Food and Agriculture released regulations late last
year, according to the lawsuit.

Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the department, said the agency is not
commenting on the lawsuit.

Allen said his association debated how to challenge the regulations
for two months. He said members decided to file suit instead of
pursuing legislative action because they need immediate relief and
because the office of Gov. Jerry Brown has made no effort to remedy
their complaints.

Green Bean Pharm will expand from a medicinal cannabis delivery
service to a full medical and recreational cannabis dispensary service
after the law changes on Jan. 1.
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