CA Assembly Passes Cottage Cannabis Farm Bill

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Small time growers in Northern California have reason to celebrate with new provisions moving forward. North Coast Assemblyman Jim Woods introduced AB-2516, a bill which would create a medical cannabis cultivator license and protect micro growers. Wednesday, the Assembly passed Jim Wood’s “Cottage Cannabis Farmers Bill” which works in accordance with the new state regulations signed by Governor Jerry Brown last year.

The new license, type 1C, covers outdoor farms under 2,500 square feet and indoor grow operations with a canopy under 500 square feet. “We are trying to ensure small medical cannabis growers on the North Coast can continue to do business as this industry moves forward,” state Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) stated in a press release. “It is not fair to require the small farmers to adhere to the same standards as larger operations. We are going to ensure the California Department of Food and Agriculture can develop regulations specific to small farmer practices.”

The assembly also passed AB-1575, introduced by Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which strengthens the implementation of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA). AB-1575 strengthens the medical community by paving the way for research, delivery services, nonprofits and the bill creates a banking advisory group. The Assembly passed the bill 57-6.

MMRSA only works if the industry is reasonably able to follow the regulations. “Last year the Legislature developed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act in an attempt to address the environmental, public safety, and public health issues in the industry,” continued Wood. “This effort will only succeed if we make sure current businesses are able to come into compliance.” Both bills head to the Senate for approval.

Also Wednesday, the California Senate passed Senate Bill 897, which is not as popular. Critics say SB-897 hurts low-income patients. Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) says he will amend the bill to accommodate poor patients. SB-897 now heads to the State Assembly.

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