UPDATE 4/22 – AB 1892 passed the Assembly Public Safety committee by a 5-2 vote.
SACRAMENTO – Tom Ammiano has re-introduced his medical marijuana regulation bill under a new bill number, AB 1894.
The new bill will be heard in the Assembly later this month, effectively replacing his other bill, AB 604, which had been pending in the State Senate. AB 1894 is essentially identical to AB 604, except for including an additional section authorizing counties and cities to levy a special transactions and use tax on medical marijuana, not to exceed 5% or 2.5%, respectively. (This provision was adopted from Ammiano’s previous medical marijuana bill of two years ago).
AB 1894 is expected to be heard by the Assembly Public Safety Committee later this month, after which it must be voted on by the Assembly before moving to the Senate.
Meanwhile, a rival medical marijuana regulation bill, SB 1262 by Sen. Correa, has been scheduled for hearings in the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development on April 21. SB 1262, which is sponsored by law enforcement lobbyist John Lovell and the California League of Cities, includes provisions that are strongly opposed by medical marijuana advocates, among them significant restrictions on physicians’ ability to recommend marijuana (for example, requiring that recommendations come only on referral from primary care physicians, allowing only non-smoked, high-CBD medicine for minors, etc.). Unlike the Ammiano bill, which puts the ABC in charge of regulation, Correa’s bill puts enforcement in the hands of county health departments and the state Dept. of Public Health.
California NORML is opposed to SB 1262 in its present form, but is hopeful that a medical marijuana regulation bill along the lines proposed in AB 1894 will be passed this session.