Lawmakers Working To Fix Error in Medical Marijuana Regulations
California lawmakers are working to correct a flaw in new laws establishing statewide medical marijuana regulations, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/5).
In October 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a three-bill legislative package including:
- 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 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, 10/13/15).
Error in Laws
The package includes language giving cities until March 1 to establish land-use regulations for medical marijuana cultivation. Under the law, those that miss the deadline would relinquish authority of cultivation to the state (Sacramento Business Journal, 1/5).
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the provision spurred several cities to impose bans on different aspects of marijuana cultivation (Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/1). Meanwhile, the League of California Cities and the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws have advised cities without regulations to pass complete bans so that they can maintain their authority.
However, officials say that inclusion of the deadline under the state laws was a mistake, the Los Angeles Times reports (Garrick, Los Angeles Times, 1/6).
Lawmakers Working on 'Cleanup' Bill
Authors of the laws now are working to quickly pass a bill (AB 1575) that would remove the March 1 deadline.
Bonta said, "There will be no deadline. Localities will be under no pressure to (impose bans) by March 1," adding, "Unfortunately, some already have."
According to the Business Journal, the "cleanup" measure also would clarify that:
- All medical marijuana products must be tested for safety; and
- Medical marijuana cultivators could operate as either for-profit or businesses or not-for-profit entities.
Further, the bill would establish state licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries that offer delivery-only services.
Deborah Hoffman, Brown's deputy press secretary, said the governor supports AB 1575, noting that he "supports allowing local municipalities a reasonable amount of time to come up with regulations that work for their communities" (Sacramento Business Journal, 1/5).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.