California Lawmakers Look to Approve Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill

Earlier this month, California lawmakers advanced Senate Bill 643 and Assembly Bill 266, two measures that would create new regulations for the state's medical marijuana system. SB 643 and AB 266 would help create an all-encompassing regulatory framework to license and control the medical marijuana industry.

Here are some details about the measures:

  • The bill, which was passed by a vote of 25 to 12, would establish an Office of Medical Marijuana Regulation in the state government - something that was not created nearly 20 years ago when California voters first legalized medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
  • The new regulatory office would establish and enforce rules for the entire medical marijuana industry - including those involved in growing, transporting, and selling cannabis. The competing measure being considered by lawmakers - AB 266 - would leave licensing and enforcement work up to various state departments specializing in areas like agriculture, medical products, and taxation.

Because California did not pass any regulatory framework in the past 20 years, cities and counties have created a patchwork of their own local rules, which largely concern the ways in which dispensaries operate. Still, there are few regulations over how marijuana is grown and processed and little to no consumer protections for marijuana products.

Although the legalization of recreational marijuana is on the horizon in California, passing a working solution to current shortcomings is crucial, especially for patients and others involved in the medical marijuana industry. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice has stated that the federal government will continue to raid and prosecute cannabis operations until the state properly regulates medical marijuana.

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our attorneys are available to assist individuals and businesses involved in the cannabis and medical marijuana industry. If you have questions about your case and how our firm can help, contact us for a FREE consultation.