California Passes Statewide Medical Marijuana Legislation

For several months, we have been hearing about how the California state legislature was striving to pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation. In 1996, a majority of voters approved California’s Proposition 215 on the state ballot, and medical marijuana became legal in California. It was not legal under any federal law, and that created major issues, but it became legal under state law. It would take many years for the federal government to stay out of the affairs of states willing to legalize medical marijuana, and even now this issue is far from completely resolved.

lawandorder.jpgWhile medical marijuana became legal in the state of California in 1996, there was no state level regulation, and it was left up to the cities, towns, counties and other municipal governments to determine through their own ordinances whether it would be legal or illegal to purchase, dispense, or grow medical marijuana within their geographical territory. This has created a chaotic medical marijuana marketplace many compare to the Wild West.

According to a recent news article from The Weed Blog, the California State Assembly and Senate have worked together, along with the help of Governor Jerry Brown, and passed Assembly Bill 243 (AB 243) AB 266, and Senate Bill 643. Governor Brown is expected to sign the bills into law, which makes sense, since he was in involved in getting them passed.

As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys understand, these news bills will have a major effect on cannabis collectives. Collectives were created when it was not legal to have for-profit grow operations. This led to the creation of collectives, cooperatives, and cannabis clubs. While it is clear that many of these collectives were really turning considerable profits without having to pay taxes, it was the only way to run a dispensary.

Under new law, there will be no more non-profit grow operations, meaning no more medical marijuana collectives. If anyone wants to grow marijuana, they can, but they will need to obtain a license from the state. It should be noted, patients and caregivers of medical marijuana patients will still be able to grow small amounts of marijuana for personal use and would not be subject to the new regulations.

There is also a prohibition on what is know as vertical integration. This is similar to how things were regulated following the repeal of the Volstead act prohibiting the sale of alcohol. There was a fear the bootleggers would retain their stranglehold on the production, supply and distribution. To this day, alcohol is manufactured by a brewery and then taken to distributors owned by separate entities and then transported again to retailers, stores and restaurants. It is not permitted for the brewer to distribute its own beer. However, while politicians claim this is done to protect consumers and the small businesses, it still possible this will ultimately harm small growers.

In case of alcohol sales, the large brewers spend a lot of money on lobbying efforts to get Congress to regulate the industry in a way favorable to large corporations at the expense of smaller independent businesses.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:

California Legislature Passes Historic Medical Marijuana Regulation Package, September 18, 2015, The Weed Blog, by Phillip Smith
More Blog Entries:

CA Legislative Aide Accepted Marijuana Gifts, July 15, 2015, Los Angeles Marijuana Attorney Blog