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California Readies For a New World of Marijuana With “Robust” Controls

A new world of weed is coming to the largest marijuana marketplace on the planet.

Gov. Jerry Brown this month signed regulations he said would bring “robust controls” to govern California’s long untamed medical marijuana industry, with clear standards for “local government, law enforcement, businesses, patients and health providers.”

His signature also may bring something else: a decidedly robust new era for cannabis commerce. By 2018 or sooner, marijuana businesses – from small pot farms to cannabis superstores – effectively can begin earning legal profits under the nation’s most diverse state licensing scheme for pot.

Until now, California’s vast pot economy has flourished with nebulous state guidelines enacted by lawmakers after voters in 1996 approved Proposition 215 to legalize marijuana for medical use. Purportedly nonprofit medical marijuana providers currently take in millions of dollars under a legal notion of patients cultivating and sharing cannabis in collectives with other medical users.

Now marijuana is set to be a regulated business activity, governed as a unique agricultural product in an industry that will be transparent and, soon, unabashedly for-profit.

Medical marijuana dispensaries annually ring up more than $1 billion in sales, and about 1 million Californians now have physicians’ recommendations for pot use to address a range of conditions, including nerve pain, cancer and anxiety. With a ballot initiative to legalize adult recreational pot use looming for 2016, investors are poised to get in on this new era of marijuana regulation. [Read more at the Sacramento Bee]

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