Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill SB1262 “Held in Committee”

UPDATE August 14 – The bill has been held in the Appropriations committee, meaning it won’t see a floor vote this year. Read more and more.

August 12 – Cal NORML remains opposed to SB1262, pending amendment. See our revised letter to the Appropriations committee.

August 8 – SB1262 is still in play. Police Chiefs met with CCIA, EGA and Small Growers Assn. yesterday, won some concessions (allowing deliveries, removing cultivation cap) in new mock up. Cal NORML is working on suggested changes to protect H&SC 11362.775 and amend transportation codes, felony language etc. It’s heading to Appropriations committee for hearing August 13 and vote by August 15. New version to be posted soon.

UPDATE August 6 – A new version of the bill posted online is substantially improved over the mark-up we saw. In addition to keeping HSC 11362.775, another significant change is that the Bureau is not required to deny licenses for past felony drug convictions, but “may” do so (section 18110).

However, the bill still says, “The public welfare and public safety require that there be a limitation on the number of premises licensed for the cultivation of marijuana to prevent the diversion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.”

We still have doubts about its economic viability, especially given the costs of setting up a new agency and the likelihood that very few growers will be able to qualify for provisional licensing. See our letter to the Appropriations committee.

July 30, 2014 – California NORML has changed its position on medical marijuana regulation bill SB1262 from “neutral pending amendments” to “opposed unless amended.”

We have concerns about new language inserted into the bill just before it was sent to the Legislative Counsel’s office last week, in advance of an Assembly Appropriations committee hearing in August.

We have been in touch with Rep. Ammiano’s office and understand that he has asked Senator Correa to make needed changes to the bill. We likewise have asked the Senator to address our concerns.

The new language would enact an unnamed cap on the number of cultivators in the state. This is problematic, both for the small farmer and in terms of funding the of Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation in the bill.

It would establish of a “chief” of the bureau with broad authority, plus has new language about public safety being the paramount concern that is vague and overreaching.

It has a new requirement for HIPPA exams by physicians that implies they are not currently HIPPA compliant; it’s unnecessary.

The discriminatory language about disallowing former felons in the bill remains a problem. Also the provisional licensing fee of as much as $8000 remains prohibitive to small operators and puts start-up funding of the bureau in jeopardy.

Finally, the bill would strike Health and Safety Code 11362.775, under which collectives and cooperatives currently operate in California. Cal NORML has long said this would cause us to oppose the bill.

California needs a good medical marijuana regulation system and we favor further efforts by the authors to come up with an effective and workable bill.

California medical marijuana supporters are planning to travel to Sacramento for a Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, August 4.

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