Sixteen months ago, Kate Kytle received a grim diagnosis—she had an aggressive form of breast cancer already in its late stages, which had spread to her lungs. She was told she only had 18 months to two years to live.
With only a few months left in that prognosis, she burst onto a deli patio in Arroyo Grande with a gust of energy, sat down on a picnic table, and pulled out the medicine that’s been at the forefront of keeping her alive. She seemed healthy and lively—and she still had all her hair.
The medicine wasn’t an ominous cluster of orange pill bottles. Instead, she had a set of homemade herbal remedies—a green salve in an unmarked white plastic container; a small clear canister holding a potent, thick green oily tincture; and a syringe, without a needle, holding an even a more potent, thick oily substance.
“I don’t like to have this out too much in public,” she said about the syringe.
Although Kytle was uncomfortable about having all her medicine out in public, she wasn’t shy about what it was, how it’s helped her, and how she wants to incorporate it into a future career.
All three concoctions contain high amounts of cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the prominent, medicinal compounds in marijuana. CBD is increasingly regarded for its potent medical applications, and it doesn’t get you high, unlike marijuana’s other prominent and well-known compound, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
In October 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a set of laws that many say will bring the state into a new era of medical marijuana policy.
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) will create a hefty regulatory framework for the state’s multibillion dollar medical marijuana industry.
The laws will require state-issued licenses for all aspects of the industry and create the new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, or BMMR, that will work with several existing agencies to license, monitor, and regulate the industry.
Those licenses will be required on Jan. 1, 2018, when the laws go into full effect. The new licensing scheme will turn an industry largely comprised of nonprofit collectives—in which the legal rights of patients and caregivers to possess and grow medical cannabis are pooled together—into one comprised of more traditional business models.
Already, there are two major pieces to the laws that are complicating life for both local policymakers and those in the industry.
First, an applicant must get some sort of local authorization, like a permit or a business license, in order to get a state license. That could be a difficult task, considering no city in SLO County will permit a brick-and-mortar dispensary, some cities have banned mobile delivery services, and grows have endured sporadic complaints and regulatory changes.
Most growers have yet to obtain formal authorization.
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