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Gov. Brown rejects license-focused bill aimed at pot shop sellers

California business owners must sometimes feel like they are among the least-saddled entrepreneurs on earth, yet simultaneously among the most aggressively regulated.

On the one hand, the state has long been a beacon for enterprising business principals who apply their talents to startups and other creative commercial ventures. California officials have historically extended an avid welcome to new business participants.

On the other hand, though, many of those individuals and entities find that they fall prey once established to an ever-escalating onus of business regulations and restrictions.

State regulators often focus especially hard on business licenses, in industries ranging broadly from law, medicine and finance to health, real estate and social services.

And recreational marijuana sales.

That industry was recently spotlighted via Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of prospective legislation that would have created a punitive licensing scheme relevant to pot shops selling products to minors.

Those enterprises are already regulated closely by the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, which makes discretionary enforcement decisions on a case-by-case basis.

The bill vetoed by the governor would have trampled the agency’s authority through introduction of a new program implementing automatic and escalated licensing restrictions for offenders. It mandated a 15-day license suspension for an initial offense, a 25-day suspension for a second violation within a three-year period and a revocation for a third offense within 36 months.

That scheme spelled overkill and illogic to Brown. The state’s chief executive says that the empowered Cannabis Control bureau is doing an adequate regulatory job and that new law would simply dilute its discretion and pointlessly muddy regulatory waters.

“The bill is not necessary,” the governor asserted as he vetoed it last week.

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