If enacted, the bill will be the first serious step toward regulation of medical marijuana since voters approved the Compassionate Use Act in 1996. The bill passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on June 26 on a 6 to 1 bipartisan vote.
Both Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Assembly Member Ammiano have focused heavily this session on the need for medical marijuana regulations to properly implement the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215). AB 1894, a competing marijuana regulation measure by Assembly Member Ammiano failed to secure enough votes in the Assembly last month to move forward. Since then, SB 1262 has been the sole active bill in this area. Assembly Member Ammiano joined Sen. Correa’s efforts due to a mutual belief that a regulatory framework enhancing patient protections and upholding local control is important.
Amendments taken in the Assembly Public Safety Committee maintain strong local control protections. The bill would create a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). A state license could not be issued however, unless applicants submit proof of compliance with local ordinances. If a local agency subsequently notifies the bureau that a dispensary is not in compliance with local laws, the dispensary’s license would be suspended within 10 days.
The amendments would:
Create the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation within DCA to fulfill licensing and regulatory functions;
Provide that funds for the establishment of the Bureau be advanced as a loan from DCA;
Grant the Bureau the authority necessary to administer the new program, contingent on local permitting approval;
Require the bureau to deny licenses for past criminal convictions of drug trafficking, embezzlement, fraud or deceit, serious violent felonies, or substantially related crimes;
Prohibit licensees from holding a license in more than one class; and
Allow the bureau to award provisional licenses for a fee of $8,000 if the facility is in compliance with local ordinances.
SB 1262 will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, after the Legislature returns from its summer recess on Aug. 4.