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League Board of Directors Votes to Co-Sponsor Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulation Legislation

Informational Webinar Scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m., Register Today by 3 p.m.

February 24, 2014
The League board of directors on Thursday, Feb. 21, voted to co-sponsor legislation to improve the regulation of medical cannabis in a manner that protects local control, addresses important public safety concerns, and enhances health and safety standards.
The legislation, SB 1262, is sponsored by the California Police Chiefs Association and authored by Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), a veteran legislator who has a long history of working with law enforcement organizations as well as local government. SB 1262 will for the first time provide a clear road map for the responsible implementation of Proposition 215 in California, since voters approved it in 1996.

This bill, which has been carefully vetted with city attorneys, police chiefs, and the League’s Public Safety Policy Committee, provides what California has lacked since the passage of Prop.osition 215 in 1996: a reasonable public safety and health-based approach to implementing this proposition in a state with great size and diversity.
Marijuana Regulation Webpage
The League has created a Medical Marijuana Regulation webpage that hosts various resources related to the issue including bill language, a fact sheet, the League and California Police Chiefs’ joint letter to League members and more.
Recent events in the medical marijuana arena have compelled both the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities to re-evaluate our longstanding respective positions of unconditional opposition to legislation on this issue. The two organizations joined forces in 2013 to defeat no fewer than four bills in the California Legislature that sought to regulate medical marijuana. Both organizations opposed each of the bills over concerns they would have pre-empted local control, ignored significant public safety concerns, and failed to address important health and safety issues. While each measure was defeated, those victories were hard-won and achieved with increasingly slender margins. One of the four bills, AB 604, failed by only two votes on the Senate Floor.
It was not feasible to ignore the fact that the political landscape on this issue was shifting. In August 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memorandum stating that it would refrain from enforcing the federal Controlled Substances Act as it applied to medical marijuana, so long as dispensary operators were in compliance with state and local laws, and were not selling to or facilitating transfers to minors. A few months later the Public Policy Institute of California released a poll indicating that 60 percent of likely California voters supported legalization. These developments indicate a changing attitude toward marijuana on the part of the federal government and California’s voting public.
Independently, the League and the California Police Chiefs Association came to realize that although strongly opposed to marijuana use, it is increasingly likely that some statewide regulatory structure for medical marijuana could be enacted in the near future. Leaders in both organizations also realized that without proactive intervention it could take a form that was severely damaging to our interests. 
Tuesday Webinar Details
In anticipation of the many likely questions on this issue, the League will host an educational webinar for its members at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Register online today by 3:00 p.m. at www.cacities.org/events. Webinar log-in information will be sent by 5 p.m. today.

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