Background: Based on the positive impact of California’s distribution system, other medical cannabis states have decided to address this important issue of safe access. Some states like Maine, New Mexico and Rhode Island, preferred a state-regulated medical cannabis distribution system. While other states like California, Colorado, Michigan and Montana have preferred to regulate distribution at the local level. Regardless of the methodology, however, the trend is moving toward enhanced access to medical marijuana as a result of regulated distribution systems.

Findings: After conducting a study on the impact of local medical cannabis dispensary regulations in California, Americans for Safe Access found that reasonable regulations not only improve the lives of patients though increased access and availability, but that they also reduce crime and community complaints around those dispensaries. In many cases, dispensaries actually helped to revitalize struggling neighborhoods. On the other hand, unreasonable or onerous regulations can have the effect of cutting off access to medical cannabis and can act as de facto bans on distribution in communities that rely on such access.

Position: ASA supports the sensible regulation of dispensaries to the extent that such regulations recognize the legality of medical marijuana distribution and offer reasonable methods to comply with local and state laws.