Sac Bee: The state’s new pot regulations are being “built on the fly”

The clock is ticking. In just four months, California must have a complex, new framework in place to govern commercial sales of recreational marijuana. Initially, there was some serious doubt about whether the state could even pull it off. But they refused to take no for an answer. The system will be there, they say. Now the question is, will it be sound?

“With four months left until full legalization, the apparatus to regulate commercial cannabis sales in California is being built on the fly,” writes the Sacramento Bee editorial board in a column Friday. “Up to 82 people must be hired. Software must be written to accept applications of thousands of entrepreneurs hoping to legally sell marijuana. Regulations governing sales aren’t fully cooked.”

And that’s just at the state level. Local governments have been even slower on the take. Many of them don’t have ordinances on the books to address state licensing yet. That could set them up for problems in terms of taxation, regulation, and public safety matters.

There are also remaining questions that haven’t been answered about licensing (the state hasn’t started taking applications yet), how to deal with impending cannabis tourism, and how much properly tested marijuana will be ready for consumption by Jan. 2.

“We opposed Proposition 64, out of concern about the public health implications of commercializing a mind-bending product,” the Bee acknowledges. “We remain skeptical, but hope [Bureau of Cannabis Control Director Lori Ajax] succeeds, understanding she and her staff have the seemingly impossible task of designing, building and operating this regulatory contraption, all at the same time.”