The federal threat of criminal prosecutions against targeted marijuana dispensaries in California is making the state’s burgeoning medical marijuana sector deal with fear and introspection, reports the Sacramento Bee. Industry advocates are calling for increased state regulation, thinking that could weed out bad actors in the trade – and ward off the feds. The government’s action has left politicians, medical marijuana businesses and would-be investors weighing the risks of operating in the industry.
State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said the federal action is a signal that California lawmakers must enact state regulations “to provide clear lines” for legal medical marijuana distribution. He pointed to Colorado, America’s second-largest medicinal pot market. Colorado has avoided federal raids while sanctioning for-profit marijuana stores and commercial cultivation with strict oversight, including mandatory video surveillance and state licensing of all marijuana workers. “What is happening in Colorado is something we should emulate here,” said Ammiano. Sam Kamin, a University of Denver law professor who studies marijuana policy, said the federal crackdown in California is shaking the foundations of the medical marijuana economy everywhere, including Colorado.