A bill that would have created a state-wide regulatory agency for medicinal marijuana has been tabled – for now.
As our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers understand it, AB2312 is being put on the back burner until next year, as Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano sought to save it from being killed in committee debates.
This landmark bill would have established an official, statewide “cannabis commission,” and would have given local municipalities the authority to impose a tax of up to 2 percent on medical marijuana sold there. Given the fact that in California, we’re talking about a $1.3 billion industry, this would have meant a clear advantage for struggling local governments, many of which are on the verge of bankruptcy and massive lay-offs of teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Ammiano, from San Francisco, had impressively managed to push the bill through the state legislature in June.
The fact that it had to be halted is disappointing, but we can certainly understand, given the contentious climate surrounding the entire issue, and the concessions that were being force-fed into the bill by conservative politicians – namely, one that would have allowed individual cities to ban dispensaries altogether in their districts.
As it stands, there are already more cities with bans then regulations, so this clearly didn’t bode well for the future of the measure, at least as it currently stood.
Formally, the bill will remain in the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, where members will hold more hearings and issue a full report on the matter, following the conclusion of the current legislative session.
Since the Department of Justice announced late last year that it would be directing federal funds and resources targeting pot shops in the state, hundreds of dispensaries and collectives have been forced to shut down, resulting in even greater job losses in a state that is already hard-hit by the flailing economy.
Part of the federal prosecutors’ argument for going after pot shops here with such a vengeance, as opposed to those in other states like Colorado, is the lack of a statewide regulatory agency.
Of course, this doesn’t take into account that as the first state to approve medical marijuana back in 1996, we had no precedent for what worked and what didn’t. Other states have learned from our earlier missteps, using them as building blocks upon which to create their own medical marijuana legislation.
But as Ammiano’s spokesman recently pointed out, moving forward with the creation of a statewide regulatory agency would pull the rug out from under any credible argument the federal government might have had in pressing forward with their assault on medical marijuana in California.
The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California — including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.