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State Officials Disagree On Who Will Track Medical Marijuana Plants

Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

The company Franwell demonstrates its cannabis tracking software at a meeting held at the Board of Equalization.

Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

California’s new medical cannabis law will put the state in charge of tracking each marijuana plant from “seed to sale.” But the Brown administration and the state's independent tax board are at odds about who will oversee it.
The state Board of Equalization is preparing to do the job. Board member Fiona Ma held a hearing with companies that supply software to other states. But Ma says the governor's budget proposal doesn't supply the necessary funds.
"Because of the extra responsibilities that we have to do this track and trace program, we need extra employees," says board member Fiona Ma. "We don’t have authority to hire new people."
The Brown administration says it’s the job of the executive branch--not the tax board--to run the tracking program.
The law itself is murky. One section reads: "The Department of Food and Agriculture ... shall establish a track and trace program for reporting the movement of medical marijuana items throughout the distribution chain."

Another says: "The board [of Equalization], in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, shall adopt a system for reporting the movement of commercial cannabis and cannabis products throughout the distribution chain."

The section goes on to say the board should not duplicate the department's database, but it also allows tracking to include any information "deemed necessary by the board for the taxation and regulation of marijuana and marijuana products."
Both sides say they’re continuing to discuss the matter.

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