California has been struggling to establish comprehensive legislation and policies on medical marijuana. In the most recent failed attempt, Senate Bill 122 died when the Assembly Appropriations Committee failed to pass it prior to the deadline expiration. According to lobbyists, the bill would have been too costly to establish a California Bureau of Medical Marijuana, upwards of $20 million. One of the problems with the bill is that too few marijuana businesses would have qualified or been able to actually pay to fund the agency.
According to reports, the new licensing provisions would have disqualified the majority of medical pot growers who are currently operating in secrecy. Without a license, these growers would not have had money to pay the bureau. The Assembly Appropriations Committee analysis found that the bill was flawed because it made it impossible for growers to come forward and apply for a license. Our Orange County marijuana defense attorneys are abreast on the evolving California marijuana legal landscape and are dedicated to helping dispensaries and individuals protect their rights. We will take the time to assist with regulatory and compliance matters as well as represent individuals facing criminal investigation or penalties.
Advocates for marijuana law reform admit that the bill was unfeasible, making it impossible for growers to apply for a license, and thus unable to fund the agency. Senate Bill 1262 was drafted by advocates seeking increased law enforcement. But it also included amendments that should have appealed to marijuana industry leaders and advocates. The bill would have allowed for-profits in an industry that is otherwise non-profit. It would have given California more clearly defined regulations. According to analysts, the bill was too restrictive for progressives, preventing individuals with past convictions from obtaining licenses. It also directly exposed some applicants to the potential of federal investigation and prosecution.
In addition to the limitations the law placed on dispensary owners and access to licenses, it also hindered patient access to medical marijuana. California has one of the most complex and conflicting sets of marijuana laws. Police and those in the industry are in a constant state of confusion and competition over control of the market. This divisiveness between state law enforcement and industry supporters makes it even more difficult to get a bill passed. Even sponsors of the bill said that it needed more concessions from the side of law enforcement to get the bill passed.
According to supporters of marijuana law reform, law enforcement has continued to dig their heels in and resist changes to marijuana law. Now that other states are passing marijuana reforms, California must make necessary legal and policy changes to keep up. Even legislators have recognized the need to review the current boundaries and set up a more transparent legal system. Still, moderates claim that those in favor of legalization have pushed demand too far. New regulation efforts have ended for the year and local bans and regulations will stay the same through the end of 2014.
With 53% of state voters in favor of legalization, the state is about two years away from a legalization vote. Even if the legislature cannot come up with a clear regulatory system, analysts project that voters will force the issue on a 2016 ballot.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
Cannabiz May Finally Be Able to Use the U.S. Banking System, February 13, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Doctors Continuing Education on Medical Marijuana, July 8, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog