Tuesday, June 24, 2014

California Medi-Pot Regs Lose Major Support

By David Downs
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Major marijuana law reform groups have begun to oppose a historic bill to regulate medical cannabis in California, citing the hundreds of thousands of patients in counties with bans that would remain without access.

Senate Bill 1262 would maintain California’s unworkable patchwork of bans and local regulations, depriving the neediest patients of access without protecting pot workers from prosecution, Drug Policy Alliance states in a June 23 analysis of SB 1262 posted to the California legislature’s website.

There's much to like about statewide regulations of California's estimated $1.7 billion industry, which currently has no regulations. But Senate Bill 1262 still has major problems, DPA writes:

“A huge, overarching issue, is that the bill does not establish a state level regulatory system for licensing medical cannabis in CA, nor direct any state agency to promulgate and enforce statewide medical cannabis regulations.

What it does, through the Department of Consumer Affairs, is set up a state level registry for businesses that have been granted local approval and are regulated in a variety of ways and to various degrees on the local level.

There is nothing in this bill clarifying which entities are responsible for enforcement, or who will promulgate the rules and oversee the implementation of this program.

This bill leaves the burden of developing and implementing regulations on localities, but does not give them any assistance or financial incentive to do so. Many localities have banned dispensaries and very few have approached the idea of licensing cultivation because of the lack of support at the state level.

Finally, this bill leaves cultivators extremely vulnerable, because few, if any localities regulate cultivation."
Dispensary transporters could be arrested in one county for activity that is legal in another.

“The current version of this bill also does not account for the manufacture of concentrated cannabis,” DPA notes.

And “The bill should offer broad protection from arrest and prosecution for licensed entities and their workers, contractors, and landlords under state law.”

SB 1262 is still supported by police chiefs, city managers, ban cities like Concord, along with Americans for Safe Access. ASA's Don Duncan said last week that ASA was trying to work with legislators. SB 1262 goes to hearing in the Assembly Public Safety Committee today.

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