California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has been pushing legislation that would have created a new wing of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to license and oversee medical marijuana cultivation sites, distributors, and collectives. After a final last-minute effort, Ammiano’s proposed bill died last week.
Similar efforts failed this past May as well as in 2012. Ammiano tried to make another push for the legislation following an August 29th memo from the Department of Justice which explained that the federal government would only target certain types of marijuana crimes moving forward, and legal medical marijuana dispensaries were not a target.
The last-minute push required a parliamentarian trick called “gut and amend” that swapped language from a cannabis regulation bill that died in May into an unrelated bill that needed to pass both the Assembly and the Senate by the end of last week.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are currently legal in California, but the operate largely in a legal gray area. Many collectives have been shut down by cities, while others operate without business licenses because they simply cannot get one.
“The current unregulated situation can’t continue and the U.S. Department of Justice memo makes it clear we need to have a plan for California,” Ammiano said in a statement Friday, before adding that he will try again in the next legislative session in 2014. “Although this is already the strongest and most effective legislation California has seen, it can still be honed and I will keep working.”