A number of Los Angeles Marijuana dispensaries are banding together in support of a bill that would establish statewide regulation for taxing and oversight of marijuana facilities.
The ultimate hope with the Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act (MMRCT) would quell the legal battles these dispensaries have been fighting almost non-stop as a result of conflicting local, state and federal laws.
Our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys are encouraged by the cooperation they’ve seen among marijuana dispensaries to band together on an issue that affects them all. It’s rare to see such cooperation among competing business owners in other industries. Now if we could just get the politicians to use some common sense and obey the will of the voters.
These small business owners know that California voters made their choice clear when they approved marijuana for medical use in 1996. And yet they have been harassed by federal authorities and municipal leaders ever since.
MMRCT would essentially pave the way for a bureau, operated by the state government, that would work to enforce regulations concerning medical marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, lab testing, processing, transportation, sale and distribution.
The bureau would be titled the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Enforcement (BMME). It would be comprised of patient advocates, doctors, state authorities and other experts on the issue. Under the act, the agency would be subsidized by a 2.5 percent sales tax on any medical marijuana sale. It would fall under the umbrella of the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which is the same agency that regulates similar bureaus, like the California Medical Board and the Alcoholic Beverages Commission.
This is an agency that would be charged with overseeing inspections of dispensary sites, ensuring that each is following all state laws and regulations, specifically with regard to promotion, packaging, security and environmental practices. BMME officials could issue civil fines and penalties for violations.
The agency would further work to ensure that the rights of patients are protected, as they have not been by the courts and other entities since the approval of Proposition 215 — the ballot measure California voters passed in 1996. Voters at the time made their intentions obvious, yet their voice has not been respected.
Under MMRCT, any additional money that was raised, beyond what is required to run the BMME, would go to pay for medical marijuana grant programs, help for low-income patients, research on environmentally-friendly growing practices and the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. The act would also explicitly outlaw the actions of doctors who prescribe marijuana for false or exaggerated ailments.
Also under MMRCT, all dispensaries would need to register with the BMME. Dispensaries that are already in business would be grandfathered in for at least three years. After that, they would have to apply for registration approval as well.
Additionally, municipal governments would be prohibited from impeding the operation of these legal, regulated businesses. Still, the bill would allow for reasonable zoning restrictions, as long as states allowed for at least one dispensary for every 50,000 people. This would hold standard unless a local government could prove that patients in that particular jurisdiction had adequate and legal access to medical marijuana by other means.
The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles, throughout Orange County and elsewhere throughout Southern California. Call 949-375-4734 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.