Finally, the days of medical marijuana prohibition is coming to an end! Patients, dispensaries, and cultivators can see the light at the end of the joint as legislators agree to Assembly Bill 266, and Senate Bill 643. That is the sentiment of many who feel that legalizing medical marijuana was long over due. Lawmakers had until midnight on Friday to agree on legislation. To the joy of medical marijuana patients, dispensaries, and cultivators, an agreement was reached. Although the deal is not yet law, as it is pending Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, it seems as though it is a mere formality. The legislation was passed with the unprecedented cooperation from the Governor’s office, state legislators, patients, dispensaries, cultivators, law enforcement, and advocate groups. Therefore, the legislation blossoming into state law seems inevitable.
AB 226’s and SB 643 calls for a fully functional, though highly regulated medical cannabis system, with licensing for all stages of production, distribution, and sales, and unprecedented new patient protections, such as testing for purity and potency.
The bills first major change will be the creation of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, which the state Department of Consumer Affairs will oversee a multiagency licensing and regulatory effort. What does this mean? The proposal creates new state and city offices that will issue licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, patients, and cultivators. The BMMR will consult with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health on the cultivation process.
Why is this legislation great?
It finally brings uniformity to what has been an inconsistent regulation that varied from cities and counties. However, the bill also provides an exception for the city of Los Angeles to enforce regulation that is approved by Los Angeles city voters.
What are the details?
All the details of the legislation have not been released, however here are some of the major details that have been.
- Legalizes medical marijuana and provides law enforcement with clear guidelines on enforcement: license-holders and licensed activity “are not unlawful under state law and shall not be an offense subject to arrest, prosecution, or other sanction under state law, or be subject to a civil fine or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under state law.”
- Organic labeled cannabis.
- Patients and Caregiver right under Prop 215 are unaffected.
- It’s a dual licensing structure with a state and local permit.
- Cities and counties have right to ban medical cannabis activity.
- Deliveries allowed.
- Mandatory lab-testing for potency, pesticides, molds.
- Privacy: State-submitted information is safeguarded for privacy, with exceptions for state business.
What does this mean if you currently have a dispensary or collective?
Ability to make a profit: No more not for profit mutual benefit corporations. Previously, cultivators and dispensaries would get jailed for showing a profit. The legislation will now eliminate that and allow dispensaries to generate a profit. Once the law takes affect, dispensaries can begin transforming their dispensary or collective into a profit generating entity.
What does this mean if you are a cultivator or want to cultivate?
The new legislation will allow cultivation of marijuana. There are limits that will be implemented, but details have not been released.
Who benefits from this legislation?
There will be more transparency in the medication you get because medication will be lab-tested.
The hard work of activists has finally came to fruition.
If you have a local license, then you satisfy the first step of the dual license scheme.
The laws call for an independent verification layer of transporters/distributors. Companies already in that game stand to benefit.
Experienced professionals who deal with licensing will have an easier time adjusting to the new scheme.
Colorado was the guinea pig, it generated over 4 million dollars of tax revenue in its first quarter.
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