Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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California cheers new medical marijuana regulations

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed off on historic new rules setting regulations into California’s medical marijuana industry, much to the delight of many industry workers and advocates applauding the decision.

After signing a trio of bills Friday night, Brown approved the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), which will aim to bring a standard of quality to the state’s medical cannabis industry, MSNBC reports.

“This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system,” Brown wrote in his signing message. “This sends a clear and certain signal to our federal counterparts that California is implementing robust controls not only on paper, but in practice.”

Pot reform advocates NORML believe it’s a step in the right direction.

“MMRSA is a helpful first step in what will be a lengthy legalization process” said Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer in a statement. “MMRSA establishes a long-overdue framework for bringing California into compliance with federal guidelines, though it has flaws and limitations that will need to be addressed in future legislation, including the November 2016 legalization initiative.”

Jim Araby, Executive Director of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council, also praised Brown’s leadership in making the decision.

“Today, the Wild West era of medical cannabis came to an end, and a new era of responsible regulation has begun,” Araby stated.

Despite all the warm reception, however, State Board of Equalization board member Fiona Ma believes several more issues — such as banking with marijuana businesses — must still be addressed.

“Our currency still says ‘this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private’ and yet we are still forcing cannabis businesses to use cash-only in a digital world,” stated Board Member Fiona Ma. “By failing to conform our laws with their business needs and not allowing access to bank accounts, we are creating a whole society of third-class citizens.”

The state is expected to begin issuing licenses to medical marijuana store operators and distributors in 2018.