Brown OKs Bills To Establish Medical Marijuana Regulations
On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a three-bill legislative package to establish statewide medical marijuana regulations, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 10/9).
Details of Bills
The legislative package includes:
- SB 643, by state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), which will develop a framework for governing the medical marijuana industry;
- AB 266, by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which will require state and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses; and
- AB 243, by Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), which will give water agencies some regulatory control over the medical marijuana industry.
The package of bills also:
- Allows cities and counties to levy fees to recoup regulation costs and place taxes for cultivation and retail sale of medical marijuana on the state ballot, in addition to sales taxes;
- Creates a new state Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to oversee multiagency licensing and regulatory efforts and involve the departments of Food and Agriculture and Public Health;
- Makes localities eligible for grants from a production and mitigation fund to support law enforcement and cleanup efforts; and
- Requires mandatory testing of products to ensure patient safety (California Healthline, 9/14).
According to the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert," many provisions will not take effect until 2018. However, Brown said he plans to direct affected state agencies to "begin working immediately with experts and stakeholders on crafting clear guidelines" (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/9).
Brown's Signing Message
In a signing message, Brown said the new laws "establish a long-overdue comprehensive regulatory framework for the production, transportation and sale of medical marijuana" (Bernstein/Dobuzinskis, Reuters, 10/9).
He added, "This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system" (McGreevy, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 10/9).
Medical marijuana advocates welcomed the new regulations, Reuters reports (Reuters, 10/9).
For example, Lauren Vazquez, deputy director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, said, "These regulations will ensure patients have legal, safe and consistent access to marijuana," adding, "New guidelines for testing and labeling products will ensure patients know what they are getting and that it meets appropriate standards for quality" (Eversley/Hughes, USA Today, 10/10).
Meanwhile, Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, said the laws will foster a "thriving, taxpaying, job-creating [medical-marijuana] industry" ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 10/9).
Further, David Bejarano -- president of the California Police Chiefs Association, which had opposed previous medical marijuana regulation efforts -- said, "This package proves that, for the first time, Californians can work collaboratively to develop and produce comprehensive medical marijuana regulation" (Leff, "KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 10/9).
However, some opponents criticized the legislation for endorsing a business that potentially could promote drug misuse.
Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said, "People do not want marijuana stores in their communities" (Reuters, 10/9).
Meanwhile, the American Medical Marijuana Association said it plans to file a lawsuit to overturn the legislation, noting that some provisions -- such as one limiting the size of the space in which individuals can grow their own marijuana -- illegally modifies the 1996 ballot initiative that legalized medical marijuana ("KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 10/9).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.