Pages tagged "California"


How can you adopt a new ordinance in your city or county?

There are three primary pathways to adopting a new medical cannabis licensing ordinance in a city or county: 

  1. Lobby the City Council or County Board of Supervisors to adopt a new ordinance that licenses commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing. If your jurisdiction already bans some or all medical cannabis activity, you will also need to lobby them to repeal the ordinance that bans this activity. They can do both things in a single new ordinance. You can follow the steps and strategies in your campaign plan, and use the skills you learn in the Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to encourage elected officials to adopt a new licensing and/or zoning ordinance.
  2. Pass a voter initiative to license or permit commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing in your city or county. Every city and county in California allows a registered voter in the district to circulate a petition to place an ordinance on the local ballot for approval by the voters. If more than 50% of voters approve the imitative, it becomes law without the need for Council or Board approval. There are very specific rules and timelines for voter initiatives. You can follow the steps and strategies in your campaign plan, and use the skills you learn in the Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to launch a voter initiative campaign.
  3. Launch a voter referendum to repeal an ordinance banning medial cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing in your city or county. Registered voters in a city or county can circulate a petition calling for a vote of the people to repeal a law they don not like. If they gather enough signatures, the Council or Board must repeal the law or let voters decide. However, voters must file a referendum petition within a certain amount of time after the law they want to repeal becomes effective. As with voter initiatives, there are very specific rules and timelines for referenda. You can follow the steps and strategies in your campaign plan, and use the skills you learn in the Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to launch a voter referendum.

 

 

Pro

Con

Best When

New Ordinance

  • Usually the least expensive and fastest path to a new law
  • Elected officials may not be willing to adopt a new law or repeal a ban;
  • You may have to make compromises to get the ordinance passed
  • Elected officials are motivated of willing to adopt a new law or repeal a ban

Voter Initiative

  • You can bypass unwilling elected officials and go directly to voters;
  • You control the content of the ordinance
  • This can be a lengthy and expensive process; You will probably have opposition at the polls
  • Elected officials are unwilling to pass a new ordinance or repeal a ban, but voters are likely to support you

Voter Referendum

  • You can stop a recently adopted ban and force the elected officials back to negotiations
  • This tactic can only be used within specified time frames;
  • You might fail
  • A new ban has just been adopted, and voters are likely to oppose it.

What you need to know before getting started

These are some questions you need to answer before deciding on the most appropriate pathway to a new ordinance in your city or county:

  1. Are you in a city or on county land? The rules about opening any kind of business will be set by the City Council, if you want to open inside the city limits. The rules about opening any kind of business in the unincorporated areas of the county will be set by the County Board of Supervisors. The unincorporated areas are those in any given county located outside the borders of any city.  Check online or contact the County Clerk’s office if you are unsure whether or not you are inside a city or in the unincorporated areas of the county.
  2. What are the rules for medical cannabis in your community? Most cities and counties now have the municipal code, county code, and zoning ordinances online. Locate these through the jurisdictions website and search for the term “medical marijuana” (local ordinances rarely use the term “cannabis). If your city or county does not have this information online, contact the City Clerk or County Clerk to ask where you can find any laws related to medical cannabis businesses. 
  3. If your city or county has a ban on some or all medical cannabis businesses, when did it become effective? This matters if you want to overturn the ban using a referendum, as described in Pathways to a New Ordinance. 

Knowledge you need to bring safe and legal access to your community

The resources on this page are designed to help you educate yourself, local lawmakers, voters, and other stakeholders about the best practices in regulating commercial medical cannabis activity. You will find model legislation for cities and counties, reports and research regarding medical cannabis and regulations, and links to innovative ASA programs that can help you succeed in bringing safe and legal access to your community.

 

Memo from ASA to Local Lawmakers Regarding the MMRSA, Local Licensing of Commercial Medical Cannabis Cultivation, and Bans on Personal and Commercial Cultivation (PDF)

This 18-page memo discusses the MMRSA and how it affects local government. The memo argues against local bans on personal or commercial medical cannabis cultivation. The tables give detailed information about timelines, license types, and other provisions of the MMRSA. A copy of an open letter from Assembly Member Jim Wood is also attached (see below). Print this memo, along with the model cultivation ordinance below, to share with your City Council or Board of Supervisors. 

 

Letter from Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) Regarding the March 1, 2016 Deadline for Local Cultivation Ordinances (PDF) 

In this letter to local lawmakers, the author of AB 243 indicates that a March 1, 2016, deadline for cities and counties to adopt regulations (or ban) commercial medical cannabis cultivation was included in the MMRSA as a result of a drafting error. The author is already working with lawmakers and the Governor to correct the language. It is very important to share this letter with your City Council or Board of Supervisors. 

 

Model Ordinances

Sample Local Ordinance Licensing Commercial Medical Cannabis Cultivation in Cities and Counties (HTML)

Sample Local Ordinance Licensing Commercial Medical Cannabis Cultivation in Cities and Counties (PDF)

New links are coming soon. Please check back!  

 

Talking Points 

Use these talking points to educate lawmakers, talk to media, and more. These basic facts and arguments are an important element to supporting your effort to adopt an ordinance or voter initiative. You can use these talking points verbatim, or use them as a starting point to write your own.  

New links are coming soon. Please check back!  

 

White Paper: Where Will Patients Obtain Their Medicine?

This white paper discusses the experience of local jurisdictions with medical cannabis dispensaries, with a focus on correcting the misperception that dispensaries cause crime.

 

Report: Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives and Local Regulation (California)

Updated in 2011, the report describes the positive outcomes of regulation in California cities and counties. ASA research shows that local officials and law enforcement report fewer crimes and complaints around well-regulated medical cannabis facilities.

 

Study: Prevalence of medical marijuana use in California, 2012

This report, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review in 2015, is the first representational survey of medical cannabis users in California. The results indicate that 1.4 million Californians have used medical cannabis, and 92% report from a serious medical condition. The report also indicates that medical cannabis is used by a variety of people in all ethnic, age, and gender groups. This can be an important tool in debunking common misperceptions about who uses medical cannabis and why. See the ASA blog for more.

 

American Herbal Products Association Guidelines for Regulators

Founded in 1982, AHPA is the oldest of the non-profit organizations that specializes in service to the herbal industry. It is the voice of the herbal products industry and the recognized leader in representing the botanical trade. With more than 300 members, AHPA’s membership represents the finest growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of botanical and herbal products. In 2010 AHPA established a Cannabis Committee tasked with the development of national  Recommendations to  Regulators that address sensible regulatory practices for hemp, cannabis, and cannabis-derived products. As such, the AHPA’s Cannabis Committee developed a series of Recommendations to Regulators, or guidelines, in the following four areas.

 

American Herbal Pharmacopeia’s Cannabis Monograph

Established in 1995, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) California- based organization with a mission to promote the responsible use of herbal products and herbal medicines. The AHP produces critically reviewed documents called monographs that outline the quality control criteria needed for ensuring the identity, purity, and quality of botanical raw materials.

Each monograph also presents a complete and critical review of the traditional and scientific literature regarding the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines and includes information on specific products such as tinctures and extracts. In 2011, the AHP began the development of a Cannabis Monograph and a Therapeutic Compendium for Cannabis. The first edition of the Cannabis Monograph was released in 2013 and provides scientifically valid standards for companies engaged in laboratory analysis of cannabis, cannabis-derived products and hemp products with regards to:

  1. Ensuring the identity, quality, purity, and potency of cannabis, cannabis-derived and hemp products;
  2. Reporting, analytic equipment calibration and method validation;
  3. And, ensuring product safety by identifying safe levels of pesticides, metals, and microbial limits. 

 

Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center

ASA believes that good policy is created when those who are most affected are at the table. Just because you are medical cannabis patient or industry player, it doesn't mean that you automatically have a degree in public policy. ASA has always been committed to demystifying political systems and providing advocates the tools they need to participate in the processes in a meaningful way. Use this innovative and free online tool to learn all about grassroots organizing, citizen lobbying, media spokesperson training, and much more. These are skills you will need in your effort to pass an ordinance or a voter initiative.

 

Patient Focused Certification

Patient Focused Certification, PFC is an innovative new program that is calibrating the medical cannabis industry for excellence.  Comprehensive and flexible, PFC is what patients, healthcare providers, companies, and regulators can depend on to identify reliable, high-quality medical cannabis products and services. PFC addresses product and distribution safety in the medical cannabis industry. The program provides components for operators, legislators and regulators to promote the adoption of safe and reasonable industry standards and regulations from seed to consumption.


Tips for raising money for your campaign

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. In the “Write Your Campaign Plan” section of this website, we discussed developing an appropriate budget as part of you campaign plan. This section explores ways to raise that money.

Most people do not like asking for money. Nevertheless, it is an important and necessary part of any campaign. You should not feel awkward about asking community members, stakeholders, and others to support a cause in which they believe. Most people who support your efforts cannot or will not participate in the day-to-day work of passing an ordinance or a voter imitative, but they can help make it happen through financial support. Remember that when you ask for a donation, you are not asking for a favor. You are giving the donor a chance to support and participate in a cause in which he or she believes.

A lot of people will say no when you ask for money. Do not be discouraged. Hearing no is a part of the process, and it is almost certainly not personal. Just keep asking. Part of a fundraisers job is to sort through all the potential donors and find out who will and will not give. In that regard, hearing no to a fundraising request means you are accomplishing part of you job!

Click on the tabs to the right and below to read more about getting ready for your fundraising effort, figuring out why people give (and do not give), and identifying potential donors for your campaign.


How will you make safe and legal access to medical cannabis a reality in your community

California law now 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. While some cities and counties already allow for medical cannabis activity, most have no rules or prohibit medical cannabis businesses outright. Patients and industry players who want to bring safe and legal access to communities where it is not already allowed will need a campaign plan.

A campaign plan is simply a plan to achieve a desired goal, including the steps you need to take, timelines, strategies, resources needed, and other details. Before you can make your campaign plan, you will need to know some basic information and choose one of several pathways to adopting (or repealing) a local ordinance. ASA recommends you gather the information you need to make a decision about the best pathway, and then discuss it with other local stakeholders before settling on a plan. This is important because you want other stakeholders to have input and buy into the plan. It is always best if all the stakeholders in a community are cooperating to create safe and legal access.

You cam learn many of the skills you need to do strategic planning, build coalitions, and organize public meetings in ASA’s online Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center. This comprehensive resource for community organizers is free.

Follow the links below or to the right to explore preliminary questions, choosing a pathway, and writing a campaign plan.


What do AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643 do

Three separate bills comprise the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) – AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643. Each deals with different aspects of licensing and regulating commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing. This is a brief summary of the bills, based on the digest prepared by the Legislative Counsel’s office. You may also want to review a summary of this legislation prepared by Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., from CA NORML.

Be sure to check out the dates and deadlines in the MMRSA in the link below and to the right.

Nothing on this page should be construed as legal, financial, or licensing advice.  This information is provided for educational purposes only. ASA strongly recommends that any applicant or potential applicant seek legal advice regarding your rights and responsibilities under the MMRSA and other local, state, and federal laws.  

AB 243 (Wood)

This bill would require the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the State Department of Public Health, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the State Water Resources Control Board to promulgate regulations or standards relating to medical marijuana and its cultivation, as specified. The bill would also require various state agencies to take specified actions to mitigate the impact that marijuana cultivation has on the environment. By requiring cities, counties, and their local law enforcement agencies to coordinate with state agencies to enforce laws addressing the environmental impacts of medical marijuana cultivation, and by including medical marijuana within the Sherman Act, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would require a state licensing authority to charge each licensee under the act a licensure and renewal fee, as applicable, and would further require the deposit of those collected fees into an account specific to that licensing authority in the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Fund, which this bill would establish. This bill would impose certain fines and civil penalties for specified violations of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, and would require moneys collected as a result of these fines and civil penalties to be deposited into the Medical Cannabis Fines and Penalties Account, which this bill would establish within the fund. Moneys in the fund and each account of the fund would be available upon appropriation of the Legislature.

This bill would authorize the Director of Finance to provide an initial operating loan from the General Fund to the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Fund of up to $10,000,000, and would appropriate $10,000,000 from the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Fund to the Department of Consumer Affairs to begin the activities of the bureau.

AB 266 (Bonta)

This bill, among other things, would enact the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act for the licensure and regulation of medical marijuana and would establish within the Department of Consumer Affairs the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, under the supervision and control of the Director of Consumer Affairs. The bill would require the director to administer and enforce the provisions of the act.

This bill would also require the Board of Equalization, in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, to adopt a system for reporting the movement of commercial cannabis and cannabis products.

This bill would impose certain fines and civil penalties for specified violations of the act, and would require moneys collected as a result of these fines and civil penalties to be deposited into the Medical Cannabis Fines and Penalties Account.

This bill would repeal these provisions upon the issuance of licenses by licensing authorities pursuant to the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, as specified, and would instead provide that actions of licensees with the relevant local permits, in accordance with the act and applicable local ordinances, are not offenses subject to arrest, prosecution, or other sanction under state law.

SB 643 (McGuire)

This bill would, among other things, set forth standards for a physician and surgeon prescribing medical cannabis and require the Medical Board of California to prioritize its investigative and prosecutorial resources to identify and discipline physicians and surgeons that have repeatedly recommended excessive cannabis to patients for medical purposes or repeatedly recommended cannabis to patients for medical purposes without a good faith examination, as specified. The bill would require the Bureau of Medical Marijuana to require an applicant to furnish a full set of fingerprints for the purposes of conducting criminal history record checks. The bill would prohibit a physician and surgeon who recommends cannabis to a patient for a medical purpose from accepting, soliciting, or offering any form of remuneration from a facility licensed under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The bill would make a violation of this prohibition a misdemeanor, and by creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would require the Governor, under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, to appoint, subject to confirmation by the Senate, a chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. The act would require the Department of Consumer Affairs to have the sole authority to create, issue, renew, discipline, suspend, or revoke licenses for the transportation and storage, unrelated to manufacturing, of medical marijuana, and would authorize the department to collect fees for its regulatory activities and impose specified duties on this department in this regard.

The act would require the Department of Food and Agriculture to administer the provisions of the act related to, and associated with, the cultivation, and transportation of, medical cannabis and would impose specified duties on this department in this regard. The act would require the State Department of Public Health to administer the provisions of the act related to, and associated with, the manufacturing and testing of medical cannabis and would impose specified duties on this department in this regard.

This bill would authorize counties to impose a tax upon specified cannabis-related activity.

This bill would require an applicant for a state license pursuant to the act to provide a statement signed by the applicant under penalty of perjury, thereby changing the scope of a crime and imposing a state-mandated local program.

This bill would set forth standards for the licensed cultivation of medical cannabis, including, but not limited to, establishing duties relating to the environmental impact of cannabis and cannabis products. The bill would also establish state cultivator license types, as specified.


ASA has been working on state and local regulations for medical cannabis for years

California voters adopted the Compassionate Use Act (CUA), known as Proposition 215, in 1996. That landmark voter initiative removed criminal penalties for most cannabis crimes for patients with a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis use and their designated primary caregiver. The CUA protects patients and caregivers from criminal prosecution for growing and using medical cannabis, but the law did not answer many questions about medical cannabis in California.

How will law enforcement know who is legal? What makes someone a bona fide caregiver under the law? Is there any limit on how many plants a patient can grow or how much medicine a patient can possess? Where do patients who cannot or will not grow cannabis get the medicine they need? What exactly is legal under state law?

The CUA calls on lawmakers “to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution” of medical cannabis. However, state lawmakers were initially reluctant to adopt statewide regulations for medical cannabis. In that vacuum, some cities and counties began to experiment with regulations for local access program to meet the needs of legal patients. ASA help create and adopt some of the earliest local medical cannabis ordinances in the San Francisco Bay Area and other places.

Most of the early local ordinances regulating medical cannabis focused on safety, preventing diversion of medicine, and land use issues around local access points (often called dispensaries). Local lawmakers did not address issues regarding cultivation, manufacturing, or laboratory testing in these early ordinances. Many cities and counties remained ambivalent about licensing or regulating medical cannabis activity in the absence of clear guidance from the state.

The state legislature adopted the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA), known as SB 420 (Vasconcellos), in 2003. This bill provided some clarity as to what was legal in California, but there was not sufficient political will to include comprehensive regulations for the medical cannabis industry that was already emerging in the state. Among other provisions, the MMPA required each county to issue voluntary medical cannabis identification cards, set numeric limits on cultivation and possession, authorized primary caregivers to receive compensation for providing medicine to patients, and recognized the right of patients and caregivers to “associate… collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes.”

The California Attorney General published guidelines for interpreting the MMPA in 2008. ASA was deeply involved in the development of the document. The final version recognized that legally organized and operated cooperative or collective patients’ association could maintain a storefront for distributing the medical cannabis they cultivated to legal patient and caregiver members. The Attorney General’s guidelines and subsequent case law helped to solidify the definition of a member-supplied medical cannabis cooperative or collective association. Members grow and consume medicine in a cooperative or collective in a closed loop system, isolated from the illicit market in non-medical cannabis.

The California Supreme Court ruled in People v. Kelly (2010) that the numeric limits on cultivating cannabis plants and possessing medical cannabis in the MMPA were unconstitutional amendments to the voter-approved CUA. The California constitution prohibits the state legislature from amending voter initiatives. However, the restrictions on cultivation and possession still apply to individual patients and caregivers who choose to obtain a voluntary medical cannabis identification card authorized under the MMPA.

While the MMPA was step in the right direction, it offered little guidance to local lawmakers regarding commercial medical cannabis activity. ASA continued to work with lawmakers and organizers statewide to adopt local ordinances after the MMPA was adopted. We had many big wins. ASA was part of a coalition that overturned a ban on medical cannabis facilities in Los Angeles and subsequently adopted Measure D, a voter initiative that allowed for qualified patients' associations to remain open in that city.

Since the CUA was adopted, cities and counties in California have adopted a patchwork of local ordinances to regulate or ban medial cannabis activity. Cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Sebastopol, Sacramento, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, San Diego, and more give licenses to dispensaries. In Los Angeles, dispensaries that meet certain criteria have “limited immunity” from prosecution. Other cites and counties ban dispensaries outright, while many jurisdictions have simply done nothing about medical cannabis.

Inconsistency and uncertainty about the law have stymied further progress at the local level. City Councils and County Boards of Supervisors are often unwilling to move forward with local ordinances without direction form the state. In the meantime, patients and provides must cope with rules that change from one jurisdiction to another.  Worse still, some local governments have banned medical cannabis activity altogether. Efforts to stop local bans in the courts have been unsuccessful so far.

In response to growing political and public pressure, 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.

ASA supported this effort and worked closely with lawmakers and other stakeholders to make important improvements to the MMRSA. ASA successfully advocated to exempt medical cannabis patients’ personal cultivation rights from commercial regulatory rules and to move regulatory oversight from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to the newly created Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, within the Department of Consumer Affairs.  ASA also successfully opposed a state-wide production tax on commercial cannabis cultivation.

ASA objected to the requirement in the MMRSA 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. We failed to remove that requirement in its entirety. However, we did persuade the Authors to make two important concessions: (1) lawmakers added the word “authorization” to expand the types of local approval beyond actual local licenses or permits, and (2) lawmakers agreed that the state could license cultivation in any city that does not ban or authorize cultivation before March 1, 2016.

ASA launched the Local Access Project to help support community organizers who want to adopt local licensing, permitting, or other authorization required for applicants seeking a state medical cannabis licensee under the MMRSA. Our goal is to help community organizers create opportunities for licensing in cities and counties where it is possible to adopt or amend medical cannabis laws or repeal local bans.


Medical cannabis news, events, and more from all over the state

CA Weekly Roundup

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act of 215
  • Local

Events

  • March 18-22, 2016 – Early Bird Registration: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • September 24, 2015 - Court Support for Frank and Marthalina Huerta (Porterville)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act! (National)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • California Legislature Wrap Up 2015
  • National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2016

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • September 22, 2015 - San Diego ASA (San Diego)
  • September 24, 2015 - Sacramento ASA (Sacramento)
  • September 27, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (North San Juan)
Read more

Medical cannabis news, events, and more from all over the state

CA Weekly Roundup Banner

Join us for a live Google Hangout to talk about who won, who lost, and what come’s next in Sacramento. The “California Legislative Roundup 2015” starts at 8:00 PM PT on Tuesday, September 15. Get the links to join this free online event in the Public Meetings & Events Section of the California Weekly Roundup.

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • California
  • Local

Events

  • September 15, 2015 – Live Google Hangout: California Legislative Roundup (Online)
  • March 18-22, 2016 – Early Bird Registration: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • September 24, 2015 - Court Support for Frank and Marthalina Huerta (Porterville)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act! (National)
  • Medical Marijuana: A Patient Survey (California)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • Blog: Voices From the Frontlines
  • National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2016

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • September 15, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (Grass Valley)
  • September 16, 2015 - East Bay ASA (Berkeley)
Read more

California Legislative Roundup 2015

CA Capitol BuildingThe California Legislature adjourned tonight, following a session that included more than a dozen bills concerning medical cannabis. Patients, providers, and other stakeholders scored some big victories in Sacramento this year, and now we have important work to do. ASA is committed to working hard to build on the momentum of the legislative session. We are going to be aggressively defending new rights won this year, helping write new regulations for commercial medical cannabis activity, acting as a watchdog on implementation, and more. We are going to need your help and support to get it done.

Read more