Local Access Project Expanding safe and legal access to medical cannabis in California

CCSA LogoAmericans for Safe Access (ASA) is committed to supporting the efforts of California advocates and industry in adopting local ordinances to license commercial medical cannabis activity. This is an important part of ensuring an adequate commercial infrastructure to serve the needs of legal patients.  ASA’s Local Access Project is designed provide stakeholders with resources they need to launch effective campaigns to adopt new ordinances, pass voter initiatives, and repeal bans on medical cannabis activity.

The Local Access Project includes:

  • A memo for local lawmakers about licensing and bans
  • A model ordinance to license local cultivation
  • Detailed information about the MMRSA
  • Tips on making a campaign plan and raising money
  • Training for citizen advocates
  • Research, reports, and more

The California Legislature adopted three bills, known collectively as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), to license and regulate commercial medical cannabis activity in 2015. When fully implemented, the bills will license and regulate the lawful cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing of medical cannabis in the state.

The MMRSA requires that applicants for a state medical cannabis license also obtain a license, permit, or authorization from the city or county in which they operate or propose to operate. Some cities and counties already license commercial medical cannabis organizations. However, a majority of local jurisdictions have no licensing rules or bans on dispensing facilities, cultivation of medical cannabis, or both. Furthermore, no local licensing schemes specifically address licensing for manufacturing cannabis products, wholesale distributors, commercial transporters, or laboratory testers at this time.

Check the links to the right or below for information about the history of medical cannabis regulations in California, details about the MMRSA, advice on writing a campaign plan to adopt a local ordinance or voter initiative, fundraising tips, and free resources to support organizers. 

Check back for updates soon. You may also contact ASA California Director Don Duncan at don@safeaccessnow.org or (916) 449-3975 for additional information. 

In This Section

History of Medical Cannabis Regulations in California

This page contains a brief history of the effort to fully implement the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) by adopting state and local licensing and regulations. ASA continues to play a key role in that effort.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

This page contains details about AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643, which were adopted in 2015 and are known collectively as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

Making Your Campaign Plan

Community organizers have several options to create local licensing for commercial medical cannabis activity. This page briefly explains ordinances, initiatives, referenda, and moratoria as strategies at the local level.


You are going to need to raise some money to mount a campaign to adopt an ordinance licensing commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing in your city or county. How much money you need depends on the scope of your campaign. This section explores ways to raise that money.

Resources for Local Organizers

This page contains links to and information about free resources ASA offers for local organizers working on medical cannabis licensing and regulation.