California, God bless her, is often a global tastemaker. And in the field of medical marijuana, the Golden State was the first state in America to legalize it.
But that's about all we did.
Medical marijuana has had such a rough road here that Colorado, in legalizing recreational pot, studied our path so it could be sure not to do it the wrong way.
One of the main problems with our system is that it consists of a hodgepodge of legislation without vision. Our laws recognize the rights of patients and providers, but they don't provide a clear path for permitting or regulating dispensaries.
So we've been the Wild West of weed.
A bill by Assemblyman Rob Bonta would finally attempt to shore up our medical marijuana marketplace. It was approved by the state Assembly yesterday.
AB 266, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act, would create a "Governor’s Office of Marijuana Regulation to coordinate and provide oversight of the licensing and regulation of various commercial cannabis activities," according to its language.
A Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing, and a Division of Medical Cannabis Cultivation would also be created.
Edibles would be standardized. State dispensary licenses would be granted to those collectives already approved by their local jurisdictions. And budtenders would have to be trained and certified.
A lot of don't-tread-on-me types simply hate this kind of legislation. So it's interesting to see some in the freedom-loving dispensary crowd begging for it. That's because it would recognize their legitimacy in the Golden State while making outlaws of some competitors.
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Bonta says, "AB 266 works to fix a system that has been broken for almost two decades."
Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, says:
Americans for Safe Access is supporting amendments in the licensing structure to protect the historic diversity of the California's medical cannabis industry and allow new players to join the increasingly mature and diverse cannabis industry.