Want to help decide what the future of cannabis looks like in California?
The state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation announced Friday that it’s accepting applications for a new Cannabis Advisory Committee, which will help shape regulations for both medical and recreational cannabis.
“We’re just trying to put together regulations that are as strong as they can be, so this is one more thing to help us get there,” bureau spokesman Alex Traverso said.
The bureau is charged with developing rules aimed at, for the first time, reining in California’s loose medical marijuana market while also introducing a regulated recreational marijuana market in the wake of the passage of Proposition 64.
Regulations for both programs are supposed to be in place by Jan. 1, so the state can start passing out licenses to businesses and allow the first recreational marijuana shops to open their doors.
Under Chief Lori Ajax, the Sacramento-based bureau is working with the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health to develop regulations geared toward protecting the public while reducing the black market for marijuana. Now they’re asking for the public’s help through this new advisory committee.
The state is looking for committee members from diverse backgrounds, including the cannabis industry; labor, state and local agencies; public health experts; representatives from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; individuals with expertise in the medicinal properties of cannabis; and representatives from communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policy, among others.
They’re not setting rules at this point on how many people will be on the committee or a firm deadline for when the application period will close, Traverso said, though he suspects they will take applicants for about the next month.
“Right now what we’re really looking for is to get that application spread out far and wide,” he said. “We’re not putting a lot of limits on ourselves because we want to get the most qualified people possible.”
They hope to have a first draft of medical marijuana regulations available for public review in late March or early April, Traverso said, with recreational rules to follow.
Along with advising the bureau as it creates new regulations, the committee will publish an annual public report starting Jan. 1, 2019 that describes its activities during the previous year and offers recommendations for changes to the state licensing authorities.
Awet Kidane, director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the marijuana bureau, will choose all committee members.
Members won’t be paid but will be reimbursed for travel to and from committee meetings, which likely take place largely in Sacramento.
Here’s a link to the application: http://www.bmcr.ca.gov/about_us/documents/commitee_application.pdf
And go here for more information about the bureau: http://www.bmcr.ca.gov/