On Thursday, the California state Assembly voted 41-28 to pass a bill that would enhance medical marijuana regulations and enforcement in the state. Assembly Bill 2312 would create a policing agency, the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Enforcement, that would license medical marijuana collectives. The agency would also be responsible for running a state-approved medical marijuana program, regulating growers, shops, delivery services, strain testing, and more.
The bill was presented by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in hopes of creating a system that is well managed and will not draw scrutiny from the federal government. The thought from supporters is that a controlled, strict system for marijuana collectives is favorable so that no one will be able to abuse the system and tarnish the reputation of the entire industry.
Critics of the bill do not think that it is feasible that the state could monitor thousands of collectives and workers throughout California. Despite criticisms, Ammiano was able to get the minimum number of yes votes required from the 80-member Assembly, an he has declared that a Legislature is “now willing to take responsibility for effective regulation of medical cannabis in California.”
The bill received no support from Republicans, but gained the support of Democrats who were looking for a solution to the over saturation of collectives in their cities and counties.
The bill would also have positive economic effects, allowing cities to impose a 5% tax on all marijuana sales.
Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the UNiversity of Southern California explained to the Sacramento Bee that there is a wide gap between support being shown by California residents and the resistance being shown by California lawmakers. In addition, he believes that Californians want a more structured system in place for medical marijuana. “Californians are very strongly supportive of marijuana use for legitimate medical purposes, but they’re coming to the conclusion that so many people are taking advantage of loopholes in the current law, it’s made them wary about expanding the program.”