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California Seeks Control of Unruly Medical Pot Industry

drying bud, trimming
Photo by Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California is trying to get control of its unruly medical marijuana industry.

State regulators released draft regulations Friday intended to impose order on the loosely organized marketplace created over two decades ago.

The proposal would establish the first comprehensive rules for growing, testing, transporting and selling medical pot in the state that is home to 1 in 8 Americans.

Voters last year agreed to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults in 2018. The state is faced with the challenging task of trying to govern a vast, emerging cannabis industry with a projected value of $7 billion.

Similar rules are being created for the recreational industry. There are differences, and a bill in the Legislature backed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown seeks to square the recreational pot law with the rules for medical marijuana.

Hezekiah Allen, president of the California Growers Association, an industry group, called the draft rules “a major step toward a well-regulated cannabis industry.”

However, he added in a statement that “there is still a lot of uncertainty as the Legislature works to better balance” the various proposals.

For medical marijuana users in California, the proposed rules will have no immediate impact. The draft regulations are expected to take months to review and refine.

They do not go into effect until Jan. 1, when recreational marijuana use also becomes legal.

The Bureau of Marijuana Control said in a statement that it’s attempting to establish a “coherent regulatory framework for an established industry that has not been comprehensively regulated by the state.”

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