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California State Assembly To Review Medical Marijuana Bills -- September 11, 2015
The California State Assembly is expected to review two bills Friday that, if approved, would regulate the medical marijuana industry in the state of California and would create opportunities to cut down on marijuana-impaired driving.
AB 266 would create a regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry that would require state and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses, according to a news release. A new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation would oversee this multi-agency licensing and regulatory effort, along with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health.
The bill was authored by Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, D-Oakland; Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova; Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles; and Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale.
“In 1996, California became the first state in the nation to allow the use of medical marijuana after voters approved Proposition 215, said Jones-Sawyer in a news release. “This unprecedented collaborative effort will finally, after 19 years, regulate the medical marijuana industry. AB 266 creates a regulatory system that respects the interests of local government while still providing a consistent statewide structure.”
Lackey, who represents part of the Santa Clarita Valley and was a California Highway Patrol officer for 28 years, helped draft the Driving Under the Influence of Drugs part of AB 266.
“One of the growing threats to our public safety is actually people driving with drug impairments,” Lackey said. “This bill would allow not just drug recognition experts, but all law enforcement to feel confident in identifying marijuana impairment.
“We’re working to deal with it in a meaningful way and making sure other people are not being put at risk.”
AB 243 would add repeatedly providing excessive cannabis to patients for medical purposes, and repeatedly recommending cannabis to patients without a good faith examination and a medical reason, to the list of prioritized allegations.
This bill would be passed only if AB 266 and SB 643 passes in the 2015-16 Regular Session.
AB 243 is authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg.
“This is exciting stuff, no questions about it,” Lackey said. “It’s groundbreaking that California would initiate this type of research. This will have national impact eventually.”