The state of California has been in the forefront of medical marijuana/medical cannabis legalization and acceptance for nearly two decades. Until now, there have been several attempts to regulate the industry, but things have largely consisted of the state government choosing not to get involved in the affairs of medical marijuana patients and their treatment needs.
However, according to a recent article from News Review, this year, the people and the legislature have engaged in an unprecedented debate over the future of medical marijuana regulation in the state of California, and different camps are proposing vastly different bills.
One the one hand, we have Bill 26, which is considered an industry-favored piece of legislation. Bill 26 would essentially treat cannabis products similar to alcohol. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) would be granted authority to oversee sales of marijuana and cannabis products, allowing it to be taxed and sold pursuant to an approved regulatory scheme with enforcement for any violations. The basic language of this bill is derived from an effort to pass similar legislation in 2014, but this initiative ultimately failed to gain approval the first time around.
On the other hand, we have Bill 266, which many consider to be a proposed regulatory scheme which grants more power to law enforcement than marijuana users and medical cannabis patients. This particular bill comes from legislators who successfully banned local cultivation of medical cannabis within the limits of Rancho Cordova. Industry insiders and political pundits believe that if Bill 266 manages to pass, its ultimate form will be significantly changed, or it will incorporated as part of another proposed bill.
As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys understand, there is another proposed bill gaining some traction titled Assembly Bill 243. This proposed bill aims to require any cultivation of medical marijuana, whether it is from an indoor grow operation or a traditional outdoor cultivation center, to adhere to an environmental regulatory scheme and even allow the state water board to grant permits for marijuana farms. The reason for this has to do with California’s troubling water shortage and a need to control water use in agricultural operations to prevent drought-related complications.
There is yet another bill, entitled Bill 643, which, rather than actually creating a taxation scheme and authorizing sale or other distribution, would commission a series of feasibility studies similar to ones that are used when a public transportation project is proposed. The problem with this approach is many see it as a half-measure. While there is nothing wrong with conducting studies, it could be years or even decades before any actual regulatory scheme is drafted and enacted, if ever.
While these are the main bills up for debate at upcoming hearings, there are others that aim to increase penalties for cultivation of medical cannabis and make other clear attempts to keep patients from getting medicine they greatly need.
As changes certainly lie ahead affecting the medical cannabis industry, if you are in business or planning to go into business, you should consult with an experienced medical marijuana attorney to make sure your investment is more secure.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
A roundup of marijuana bills now making the rounds at California’s state Capitol , April 14, 2015, News Review
More Blog Entries:
Lawsuits Seek to Open Doors to Costa Mesa Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, March 23, 2015, California Marijuana Lawyer Blog