Tuesday, October 4, 2016

California Medical Marijuana Extract Makers Get Historic Protections

By David Downs
Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 7:50 AM

California’s elite artisanal medical cannabis extract-makers will get the same legal shield as the patients and collectives they currently serve, under new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

click to enlarge Chemical extracts of cannabis (above) got needed legal clarity Sept. 29. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • Chemical extracts of cannabis (above) got needed legal clarity Sept. 29.
The California Cannabis Industry Association announced Sunday that Gov. Brown signed Assembly Bill AB 2679 on Sept. 29.

The law is a legal bridge between the existing unregulated market in medical marijuana extracts and the nascent regulated market, which begins Jan. 1, 2018.

AB 2679 should help butane hash blasters, carbon dioxide extraction technicians and other artisans who are getting arrested and prosecuted under misapplied meth lab laws. Medical marijuana extractors who follow stringent manufacturing and quality assurance standards will get a legal shield, while chemical hash makers who don’t follow AB 2679 still face arrest and prison time.

The law also helps create a path to licensure for hash manufacturers and contains first-ever safeguards to ensure patients have access to quality and consistent products.

California is in the midst of regulating its billion-dollar medical cannabis sector, with rules taking effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Hearings up and down the state are set to precede the release of draft regulations for state licensing. Local cities and counties are scrambling to either create local licenses to mirror state law, or, restrict or ban aspects of the licit pot trade.

“Last year, California took a historic step by regulating medical cannabis to protect patients, businesses, our communities, and the environment. But across the state, locally authorized medical cannabis manufacturers continue to be targeted by municipal law enforcement. As we await full implementation of medical cannabis regulations, manufacturers cannot continue to operate in a legal grey area,” stated Rep. Rob Bonta, representing the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. “Under AB 2679, local governments will be given guidance and manufacturers will be protected in preparation for state licenses in 2018.”

“AB 2679 brings needed clarity to local governments about the type of manufacturing of medical cannabis that is allowed during this interim period before the MCRSA is fully implemented,” stated joint author, Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova). “I am proud to move this issue forward and continue the ongoing medical cannabis regulation conversation.”

"We and our patients are deeply grateful to our leadership in the California legislature for passing this important bill and to the Governor for making it law. The clarity this law provides will ensure that people who rely on medicinal cannabis can feel more secure about the continued supply of the quality medicine they have come to depend on. We were proud to stand with a broad coalition—like the California Police Chiefs Association—to support this legislation." stated Nick Caston, Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy for CBD Guild.

“With voters set to consider adult use of cannabis at the ballot box this November, it is critical that we clarify the role of manufacturers now. By acting today, California ensures manufacturers can continue to provide patients the medicine they need,” concluded Bonta.

AB 2679 is co-authored by the bipartisan coalition behind last year's industry regulations — Assemblymembers Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), Rob Bonta, Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), and Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg).

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