Weed Shop Law Once Feared by Industry Gets Key Democrat's Support
Timothy Norris for L.A. Weekly
A proposed law to provide statewide regulations for marijuana dispensaries was once firmly opposed by the cannabis community.
It sought to outlaw concentrates like wax, and it would have limited what kind of doctors could recommend weed as well as what form of pot they could prescribe. No longer. The bill by Southern California Sen. Lou Correa has been worked over so much that a key liberal Democrat, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, has jumped aboard as a "principal co-author," his office announced.
The bill, SB 1262, was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee yesterday and will now head to the Appropriations Committee:
Both the law-and-order and decriminalization sides of the medical marijuana issue seem to have agreed that dispensaries need to be regulated by the state. California's medical marijuana laws left out exactly how retailing would work. And cities have tried to jump in with their own rules.
Cannabis supporters have long wanted shops to be sanctioned and permitted by state government. They've also said that bad actors in the business should be driven out or scared straight by firm legal guidelines.
Until now, however, no dispensary regulation bill has achieved momentum in Sacramento.
Correa's bill, backed by the California Police Chiefs Association (which never really cared much for the legitimacy of medical pot), was at first considered to be somewhat of an anti-pot Trojan horse by medical marijuana advocates.
Now it features rules for making edibles and requirements for labeling pot. And it would establish a state agency to police retailers. According to Ammiano's office:
A key facet of the bill is the creation of a bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation under the Department of Consumer Affairs. There would be strict regulation at state and local levels.
For far too long, the implementation of medical marijuana laws has been marked by conflicting authorities, regulatory uncertainty, intermittent federal enforcement action, and excessive litigation. This measure will establish a much needed regulatory framework for medical marijuana that prioritizes local control and patient safety.
[Update at 1:06 p.m.]: Dale Gieringer, state coordinator for California NORML, tells us the group isn't behind the bill just yet. Here's his take on it:
Let it be noted that SB 1262 remains very much a work in progress. The draft reviewed yestereday by the Public Safety Committee was unworkable, inconsistent, and unacceptable to most advocates. It was approved conditionally with the understanding that problems be worked out before final hearings in the Appropriations Committee, which are expected around mid-August. Advocates are hopeful that they can work with the authors to come up with an acceptable draft by then. If not, it could end up being killed.
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