The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act 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.


In This Section

Dates and Deadlines

The MMRSA contains numerous dates and deadlines that matter for applicants. Here are some key dates of which you should be aware.

Provisions of the MMRSA

These are some of the provisions in the MMRSA.