California voters have approved a medical marijuana ballot initiative and a handful of state lawmakers are poised to vote on a ballot measure to regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is expected to file a request for a preliminary injunction that would allow growers to sell medical marijuana for recreational purposes.
If approved, the measure would permit the use of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol in the state, a policy that is now regulated by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
A growing number of states are moving toward allowing the use and sale of medical pot, and a number of lawmakers are also expected to support the initiative.
In January, California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act by a slim margin.
The measure allows people suffering from a medical condition such as cancer or AIDS to obtain and use cannabis oil for medicinal purposes, and requires a state-issued medical marijuana card for those who need it.
But opponents of the measure say the measure is just another step toward legalizing recreational marijuana, and that the medical marijuana industry will be the largest contributor to the state’s budget deficit.
California’s medical marijuana patients will be able to grow their own marijuana, but the law requires that patients grow only five plants per household, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reports that more than half of California’s population of 1.2 million lives in one of the state-sanctioned “medical marijuana” zones.
In June, Becerras office said the state would begin to regulate medical marijuana in August, and the attorney general said the industry could be ready for its first commercial operation in 2021.
“I believe that in time, we’ll be ready to open this industry,” Becerres office said in a press release.
“This industry will provide medical marijuana users with the ability to grow, store and sell their medicine.”
California already allows for the cultivation of marijuana by individuals with a doctor’s prescription.
The new law requires medical marijuana dispensaries to obtain a license, but not the cultivation licenses.
In March, Becers office said that it had approved the use in the Golden State of cannabis oil, which is now a Schedule I controlled substance.
The state is expected in August to begin accepting applications for the first batch of medical cannabis.
A dispensary can receive up to six applications per year, with more than 30,000 applicants for the program so far.
The Associated Press