Lawmakers Aim To Establish Medical Marijuana Regulatory Framework
On Thursday, the California Assembly voted 50-5 to approve a bill (AB 266) that would set up a regulatory framework for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana, AP/KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Thompson, "KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 6/4).
Details of Bill
The measure would establish a two-tier system for medical marijuana licensure, giving the state the responsibility of issuing conditional licenses and local governments the authority to issue the actual operational licenses for growers, transporters and dispensaries (California Healthline, 5/5).
The new version of AB 266 would create the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation under the state Department of Consumer Affairs. That agency would be tasked with licensing and regulating dispensaries, as well as any cultivation or distribution of medicinal marijuana.
The bill also would allow counties to impose a tax on the cultivation and distribution of medicinal marijuana (California Healthline, 6/1).
In addition, the bill seeks to:
- Require training and certification for medical marijuana industry workers, such as through an apprenticeship program; and
- Resolve issues related to compensating such workers with cash and forcing them to work unpaid overtime (Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 6/4).
Details of Vote
AB 266 received some Republican support, according to the Los Angeles Times (Mason/McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 6/4).
For example, Assembly member Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a former California Highway Patrol officer, said, "This bill actually tightens medical marijuana standards" and "gives us more ability to control this industry that's out of control" (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/4).
However, Assembly member Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), a former employee of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, said the measure needed to do more about:
- Keeping marijuana products from children; and
- Regulating marijuana-impaired drivers.
Cooper said, "I think we're heading in the wrong direction" ("KPCC News," KPCC, 6/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.