SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The head of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation says the finalized regulations will be ready by January 1, 2018.
“ It’s been months and months of talking to a lot of folks, doing a lot of research, talking to different states,” said Lori Ajax, the head of the BMCR.
Her team of about 15 people is responsible for shaping the rules for the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.
“We fully expect that we’ll be making some changes to them (regulations) and so this is a good chance during these hearings to hear what folks think,” said Ajax.
There was a packed room at Friday’s hearing in Sacramento. Most of the people in attendance had a question or concern.
“In the next 24 months, California can expect 100 million pounds of green waste headed to landfills, composting facilities,” said Eric Carlson.
He says there are issues with the regulations surrounding what will be done with plant cultivation waste. Carlson says some facilities are shying away from the cannabis industry.
“We don’t know what kind of waste it is. Is it solid? Is it green? Is it organic?” said Carlson.
Other concerns include transporting the product.
“The person who can’t afford it is going to be the one who has to pay for it,” said Lanette Davies, a Sacramento dispensary director.
Right now, the draft regulations call for a completely independent distributor to handle transportation. Davies says that could cripple small businesses.
“By making them completely independent, your cost is going to considerably raise because somebody has to pay for the licensing and permitting of a separate industry,” said Davies.
The regulated market has created opportunities for side businesses.
“We help them professionalize and get through the regulatory maze,” said Randi Knott with Genezen, a consulting company.
Knott says people are going to need a way to bring their black market business out of the shadows.
“We have a lot of cannabis people who know everything about cannabis but don’t know anything about managing corporate America and the different license,” said Knott.
Ajax says the goal of their community outreach is to educate and pull those businesses into state compliance.
“We want them to come into the regulated market and stay in the regulated market,” said Ajax.