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Sacramento, CA - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) today announced support for AB 266, which would create a comprehensive regulatory structure for California’s landmark medical cannabis program. Earlier today AB 266 passed the California Assembly by a margin of 60-8-12. Last week AB 266 was merged with AB 34 and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) was made lead author of the bill. AB 266 is co-authored by Assemblymembers Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). In addition to supporting AB 266 in its present form, ASA will be working with the General Assembly, California State Senate, patients, and providers to find ways to further improve the bill to optimize the ultimate program that would be created.
“AB 266 works to fix a system that has been broken for almost two decades. California was the first state in the nation to approve medical cannabis with the passage of Prop 215 in 1996, but since then we as a state have stagnated, and it is time that the Legislature takes definitive action on this important issue,” said Assemblymember Bonta. “As Chair of the Assembly Health Committee I feel it is imperative that we create a viable framework for medical cannabis that preserves our core priorities and provides strong patient protections and access to their medicine.”
Although California has the oldest medical marijuana program in the nation it currently lacks a comprehensive regulatory scheme, leaving it behind a number states with more recent programs that have adopted industry best practices as part of their statewide laws and regulations. Americans for Safe for Access research has shown that regulation of dispensaries can reduce crime and community complaints, while preserving essential access for medical cannabis patients. Additionally, members of medical cannabis community will be benefit from a greater perception of integrity among lawmakers and the public under a more robust state-level regulatory structure.
“AB 266 will help put aside industry issues that distract from the benefits that patients in California get from the medical cannabis program,” said Steph Sherer executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “While enthusiastically supporting AB 266, Americans for Safe Access is supporting amendments in the licensing structure to protect the historic diversity of the California's medical cannabis industry and allow new players to join the increasingly mature and diverse cannabis industry.”
ASA Report: Medical Cannabis Dispensing and Local Regulation
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With over 50,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.