In September, California lawmakers approved a series of bill that would establish a statewide regulatory framework for California businesses that produce and distribute medical marijuana in the state. AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643 create standards for licensing businesses as well as testing, packaging, labeling, and tracking marijuana products, among other things.
The bills establish a new agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, which will oversee the system and work with other agencies that will be involved in licensing key areas of activity, such as cultivation and testing. The bureau will develop detailed rules by January 2017, and businesses will begin to apply for state licenses in January 2018, at which point the current system of collectives and cooperatives will be phased out. Medical marijuana businesses will need to obtain local approval to continue operating.
In 1996, California became the first state to adopt a law that allows seriously ill patients to legally access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The law did not include a regulatory structure, resulting in a patchwork system in which some communities allowed medical marijuana providers to operate under local regulations while others opted to prohibit such operations entirely.
Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sunday to sign the bills.
Medical marijuana patients in California won a victory Monday when the Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would prevent patients from being denied organ transplants.
The Associated Press reports:
The Democratic governor
announced Monday that he signed AB258 by Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael.
Supporters say some patients who use medical marijuana have been denied life-saving organ transplants because they are treated by doctors as drug abusers. Marijuana is often prescribed to cancer and other patients to help with pain and side effects of treatment.
Levine's legislation ensures that medical marijuana users have the same right to access organ transplants as other patients by prohibiting a hospital or doctor from disqualifying a person solely because of medical marijuana use.
One such patient was Norman Smith, a Los Angeles resident who succumbed to liver cancer after being denied a transplant. You can learn about his story here.
AB 258 passed both the California Assembly and the Senate by overwhelming margins, sending the bill to Gov. Brown
for his signature. This compassionate bill would prohibit hospitals from denying medical marijuana patients organ transplants simply because of their choice of medicine. Hospitals, clinics, and members of the medical community who do not support medical marijuana should not be able to kick people who are already down by denying them lifesaving treatment.
The California Assembly passed AB 258 with a 62-12 vote, and earlier this week the Senate passed the bill with only one vote in opposition. Clearly, both Californians and their legislators believe in protecting patients from discrimination based on their choice of medical treatment. The bill now needs only Gov. Brown’s signature to become law.
If you are a California resident, please take a moment to ask Gov. Brown to sign AB 258 when it reaches his desk.
California Democrats approved adding a position in support of taxing and regulating marijuana to the party’s platform Sunday, despite opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown (D). This is a major shift in the Democratic Party stance on legal marijuana use in the Golden State, and was spearheaded by long-time activist Lanny Swerdlow and the Brownie Mary Democratic Club.
California was the pioneering state for medical marijuana, which was made legal in 1996, but since then has stalled on creating a regulatory structure for cultivation or sales, and the legislature has been unwilling to seriously consider making marijuana legal for adults.
Leading up to the party shift this weekend, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, formerly the mayor of San Francisco, made the case for marijuana, swaying moderate Democrats by reassuring them, “You can be pro-regulation without being an advocate for drug use.”
Newsom’s advocacy was contrary to Gov. Brown’s interview on “Meet the Press” the last week, in which he voiced peculiar concerns over marijuana’s effect on alertness. “The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive," Brown said. "I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."
The platform language specifically calls on Democrats to "support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol." The tipping point in this shift may stem from Colorado’s preliminary tax revenue generation of $2 million dollars for the month of January. However, revenue clearly is not the only factor; a recent Field Poll found a 55% majority of voters support legalization.
As summer nears its end, marijuana “eradication” efforts are in high gear – and nowhere more so than in California, whose effort is called the “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” – CAMP for short.
And as usual, the news is filled with stories of CAMP raids like this one, in which whopping numbers of marijuana plants are seized. These are habitually accompanied by breathless tales of criminal gangs despoiling forests and wilderness areas with their marijuana growing operations.
Missing from these reports is any recognition of the evidence that CAMP actually makes these problems worse. Maybe that’s because stories like this one from CNN and this one from the New York Times quote only government sources.
Other than completely failing to “eradicate” marijuana, how does “eradication” make problems associated with marijuana cultivation worse? Take a look at the charts at the bottom of the CAMP page linked above. As the number of plants seized skyrocketed starting in 2002, a key shift occurred: Where once the majority were seized from private land, in recent years the overwhelming majority of seizures have been on public lands – those very national forests the “eradicators” claim to want to protect.
The charts only go through 2006, but the trend has continued. In 2008, CAMP seizures set an all-time record of nearly 3 million plants, with 70 percent seized on public lands.
“Eradication” campaigns appear to have literally driven the growers into the hills.
Two years ago, MPP challenged California Attorney General Jerry Brown – who oversees CAMP -- to provide evidence that the program reduces marijuana availability, cultivation in dangerous or environmentally sensitive areas, availability of marijuana to young people, or involvement of criminal gangs in marijuana production and distribution.
He did not respond.