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Sacramento, CA- Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed the trio of bills known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act that will establish regulation of commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and transportation, as well as create a state-level licensing system in California for the first time since the medical cannabis program was enacted in 1996. The California legislature passed Assembly Bills 243 and 266 and Senate Bill 643 on September 11th, 2015, with overwhelming support in both the Assembly and the Senate.
“Governor Brown’s approval of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act ushers in a new era in California,’” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta, the lead sponsor of AB 266. “Patients will have more assurances that their products are safe. Law enforcement will have a foundation for identifying drugged drivers and increased funding to protect the public. The environment will be protected from neglect, destruction, and water diversion. And the medical marijuana industry itself will be able to come out of the shadows and receive the same protections under the law as other state-licensed businesses, creating jobs and contributing to the economy. I am privileged to have played a key role in these historic new laws that will address, once and for all, the challenges posed by medical marijuana in California.”
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has supported both regulation of the cannabis industry at the local level and the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. 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.
“This is a great day for California’s cannabis patients,” said Steph Sherer, Americans for Safe Access (ASA)’s executive director. “The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act will ensure that safe and legal access to medical cannabis will be a permanent right for Californians and will help position California as a leader in this field once again. ASA has been laying the groundwork for this day for over a decade and now California will see that cannabis regulations that facilitate patient access, product safety and create fair rules for the industry is possible in California and across the nation.”
While supporting the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, ASA has also expressed concerns about a 100-square-foot area limit on patient personal medical cannabis cultivation, added to the bills in a last minute change, and about vertical integration limits creating undue obstacles to legitimate members of the medical cannabis industry. ASA is committed to closely monitoring the implementation process for any issues that might ultimately undermine safe and affordable patient access.
“Many of the final regulations will be determined in forthcoming rulemaking,” said Don Duncan, ASA’s California director. “While today is a day to praise Governor Brown and the California legislature, we’re letting our membership know that moving forward their voices are essential to getting rules in place that fully meet the needs of medical marijuana patients.”