Two proposals in the state legislature would establish new oversight of California's marijuana dispensaries.
One, backed by the California Police Chiefs Association, would strictly limit what kind of doctors could prescribe cannabis, and in which situations they could do it. The cops' bill would also outlaw “concentrates” including, wax, dabs, honey oil and shatter.
A seemingly less-draconian bill, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's AB 1894, passed a key hurdle today by getting approval from the Assembly Public Safety Committee:
The law would direct the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to police the dispensaries, particularly in order to prevent infiltration by organized crime and to ensure that minors aren't getting their hands on weed, Ammiano's office says.
It would also recognize the rights of local jurisdictions, like Los Angeles, to ban cannabis retailers outright.
Doctors who wrongly recommend medical marijuana would be subject to discipline. Marijuana would be tested for pesticides and tracked from grower to market.
California's medical marijuana laws have been a mess. There is no state license (or tacit approval) for having a cannabis shop. And attempts to create a framework for pot retailing have been failures so far.
Ammiano spokesman Carlos Alcala told us that while their bill was introduced after Sen. Lou Correa's cop-backed legislation, it was not particularly intended as a reaction to it. Ammiano tried unsuccessfully to get similar regulation passed last year:
I think the police chiefs were reacting, knowing that bill or something like it would go forward. … What he [Ammiano] is responding to is not their bill, but to his years of experience working on the issue. AB 1894 reflects his understanding of the practical and political pitfalls facing regulation.