Effects of Medical Marijuana Bills Would Vary Across Industry
A package of California bills that would establish statewide medical marijuana regulations would help some industry stakeholders, while negatively affecting others, the East Bay Express reports (Downs, East Bay Express, 9/23).
Earlier this month, the state Legislature approved a package of bills aimed at creating a regulatory framework for the state's medical marijuana industry. The legislative package includes:
- SB 643, by state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), which would develop a framework for governing the medical marijuana industry;
- AB 243, by Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), which would give water agencies some regulatory control over the medical marijuana industry; and
- A measure, by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which would require state and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses (California Healthline, 9/14).
The bills are awaiting action from Gov. Jerry Brown's (D).
How Bills Would Affect Stakeholders
According to the Express, groups likely to benefit from the legislation are:
- Patients, who still would be able to receive medical marijuana and likely would not experience many changes under the bills;
- Regulated dispensaries, which likely would have an advantage under the new dual local-state licensing system called for by the bills;
- Small farmers, who would be able to receive licenses for growing medical marijuana;
- Industry investors and lobbyists, because the state's medical marijuana industry would be for-profit, likely spurring investments, as well as advocacy; and
- Unions, because the regulations would require any medical marijuana company with 20 or more workers to have a "labor neutrality agreement" with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Licensed distributors and growers who previously complied with state rules also likely would benefit from the legislation, according to the Express.
Meanwhile, groups that could face issues related to the legislation include:
- Caregivers, because the bills would enact a five patient per caregiver cap;
- Distributors that did not previously comply with rules;
- Large medical marijuana farms, because the bills would limit large-scale farm licenses and limit the total allowable acres licensed to an individual; and
- Vertically integrated stores, which no longer would be allowed to own farms, a courier fleet and testing labs (East Bay Express, 9/23).