Apr 14, 2015 4:39 PM by News Staff
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California's marijuana farmers have existed in a legal gray area in the 18 years since the state became the first to allow residents to use the drug for medical purposes.
But veteran cannabis growers are emerging from the shadows to make their voices heard at the Capitol now that groundwork is being laid to legalize pot for recreational use in the state.
Marijuana producers from Northern California's infamous Emerald Triangle are hiring lobbyists, forming political action committees and taking elected officials on fact-finding tours - even though large-scale pot farms remain illegal under federal law and growers risk being raided and prosecuted.
The coalition says it's worth the risk of coming forward to ensure their interests are represented as lawmakers, and ultimately voters, consider regulations that could allow them to operate aboveboard.
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