California regulators on Friday said marijuana deliveries can be made anywhere in the state, even in locales that ban cannabis.
Law enforcement groups and the California League of Cities opposed the move, arguing that pot deliveries to places that ban cannabis erodes local government control and will increase crime in those areas.
A cannabis industry leader in San Jose recently agreed with those concerns, saying delivery drivers are the way that the black market gets their product out.
Also the Bay Area, Walnut Creek had banned the sale of recreational and medical marijuana, but the city council recently approved a plan to allow two dispensaries to operate but with no storefronts, only deliveries.
The matter has been one of the most debated issues as state regulators hammer out permanent rules for how marijuana is grown, tested, packaged and delivered.
Recreational marijuana became legal in the state after voters passed Proposition 64 two years ago.
The dispute could end up in court. The delivery issue was included in regulations drafted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, which issues most retail permits.
The proposal also included a ban on permit holders partnering with unlicensed operators, which industry supporters said will stifle growth.
The bureau in its comments explaining the added rule said it’s concerned about such partnerships doing business in the black market.
California Cannabis Industry Association spokesman Josh Drayton said most California cities and counties have exerted local control and don’t allow marijuana, making it impossible for a business such as a beverage maker or nutritional supplement manufacturer to partner with a legal marijuana operator.
He said the bureau’s stand against unlicensed operators went too far and will hurt the nascent industry.
“The industry has slowed down enough already without this added hurdle,” Drayton said.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture, which regulates farmers, also released its draft regulations which would continue to allow farmers to receive an unlimited number of permits to grow pot.