Who regulates medical marijuana in California?
Well, basically, nobody. State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano wants to change that. Today he announced legislation, introduced last month, that would bring medical cannabis under the policing of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The proposal is called AB 473:
Ammiano's office says it will mandate that the ABC police "the entire supply chain" and "work to eliminate criminal involvement in the industry."
The language of the bill also states that pot would be tested and that guidelines for growing would be established.
The bill would "provide a comprehensive state regulatory structure for medical
cannabis cultivation, processing, testing, and distribution," says a legal counsel's summary.
That seems like a tall order for the ABC, which is stretched thin as it is. (Officials have told us that they often rely, for example, on local police when enforcing state alcohol rules).
ABC spokesman John Carr told the Weekly, however, that "we haven't taken a position on that bill yet."
California has been in chaos for way too long. Cities have been looking for state guidance, dispensaries feel at the mercy of changing rules and patients who need medical cannabis are uncertain about how their legitimate medical needs will be filled. This is a concrete plan that will keep medical marijuana safe. We will get it into the right hands and keep it out of the wrong hands.
He compares his proposal to Colorado's system of regulating pot sales.
In the meantime, Ammiano's office says he's introducing a bill that would formally ask federal authorities to step off on enforcement against dispensaries ...
... to give California breathing room to get its medical cannabis house in order without the threat of new widespread prosecutions of medical providers.