13 bills in the California legislature deal with marijuana; most of them specifically with medical marijuana.
The bill with the most far reaching consequences is AB 266. This bill is an attempt to put some state controls on California’s patchwork of local regulations. The bill creates a new Governor’s Office of MMJ Regulation to oversee and coordinate three new MMJ regulatory divisions:
The Dept of Food and Agriculture for cultivation
Public Health for product safety and labeling*
The Board of Equalization for licensing
The major action would be by the Board of Equalization acting in concert with other state agencies to write and enforce state regulations for commercial medical cannabis distribution and to issue provisional licenses for medical cannabis organizations, which are contingent on local licensing approval.
The bill also prioritizes enforcement against doctors who are accused of writing inappropriate medical cannabis recommendations, creates an apprenticeship program for the medical cannabis industry, authorizes additional local taxation and more and more and more.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the bill’s lead sponsor stated “AB 266 works to fix a system that has been broken for almost two decades. California was the first state in the nation to approve medical cannabis with the passage of Prop 215 in 1996, but since then we as a state have stagnated, and it is time that the Legislature takes definitive action on this important issue. As Chair** of the Assembly Health Committee I feel it is imperative that we create a viable framework for medical cannabis that preserves our core priorities and provides strong patient protections and access to their medicine.”
Saying this bill provides “strong patient protections and access to their medicine” is the same doublespeak used in GMO/food ‘safety bills’ since it actually codifies into law the ability of local governments to ban medical marijuana distribution and does nothing to prevent cities and counties from banning any and all patient cultivation.
After creating three new complete agencies complete with staff [cronies], budgets [welfare salaries to do-nothing water cooler dictators with a God fixation and no practical empirical application], saying this bill “provides strong patient protections and access to their medicine” remains a mystery and a falsehood claim based on expected income [greed], not patient satisfaction.
Be that all as it may, last week AB 266 overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support passed the State Assembly 60 to 8. From here it goes to the State Senate where unless there is some coordinated and concerted action by patients, it will definitely not get better and only get worse. Don’t let Seattle happen to California!!
There are others bills that are under consideration as well and some are good, but most are bad. To see the laundry list of other bills and what they will effect patients CLICK HERE.
If AB 266 and the other bills are not to your liking, there is a unique opportunity for you to actually do something about it and maybe even affect some needed changes. It’s ASA’s California Citizen’s Lobby Days on Sunday, June 14 and Monday, June 15 in Sacramento where you can join 300+ patients, advocates, providers and industry workers for two days of education, training and LOBBYING YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS.
On Sunday, June 14 there will be two workshops on Regulating Patient Cultivation and Using Local Ballot Initiatives. On Monday, June 15 in the morning there will be Legislation Briefing and Lobbyist Training plus a special Keynote speaker presentation.
Fighting for medical marijuana, no matter the status, can’t wait for 2016 involvement. Input to ‘elected representation’ has to begin immediately, if not sooner!
(*- they can label pot but they can’t label food for GMOs; Bonta is not a medical doctor but a Yale lawyer – Ed)