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Marijuana Law That Would Protect Dispensaries Passes Public Safety Committee

At a time when medical marijuana in California is under attack both by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and cities, like L.A. and Long Beach, that want to ban dispensaries altogether, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has answer.

It's called AB 2312, and the proposed law would regulate pot shops, make cities allow them, and require a statewide policing board to watch over them.

His office announced this week that ...

... AB 2312 has a chance.

The bill made it past the powerful and influential Assembly Committee on Public Safety on a 4-2 vote.

Reflecting an earlier, failed initiative by Americans for Safe Access (seems Ammiano picked up the ball here), the bill would establish a 9 person Board of Medical Marijuana Enforcement in the Department of Consumer Affairs to police pot shops statewide:

The duties of the board would include, but not be limited to, issuing or denying registration applications, establishing fees for administering these provisions, adopting regulations in connection with these provisions, and issuing fines and penalties for the violation of these provisions.

More importantly, it would tell cities like L.A. and Long Beach that the can't ban pot shops, though there are loopholes, apparently, that would allow it:

The bill would generally require a city or county to permit no fewer than one medical marijuana dispensary, as defined, per 50,000 residents, provided that a city or county would be permitted to opt out of this requirement, pursuant to certain procedures.

Ammiano is ecstatic about the progress:

Only by regulating medical cannabis will California be able to regain control and ensure safe access for patients. Effective regulation benefits everyone - patients, providers, doctors and law enforcement. Passing AB 2312 is an opportunity for the Legislature to defend Prop. 215 by regulating and controlling an industry that has the clear support of the people of California.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]