If a plan to regulate medical marijuana in California becomes law, patients would still be able to use concentrates, wax, and other extracted forms of the drug.
State Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat from Santa Ana, is pushing a bill that would impose new rules on the state’s notoriously chaotic medical weed industry. His approach has the backing of law enforcement groups and the League of California Cities, organizations that long opposed MMJ under any circumstances.
Police and municipal groups decided to supported the bill because it contained strict new requirements for doctors, provisions cementing the power of local governments to prohibit dispensaries, and a ban on extracts.
Bill Has Changed Dramatically
The legislation as it stands now, however, is very different. Almost all of the physician-related provisions were removed in committee. And now the ban on extracts has been taken out as well.
Just about the only thing left for the groups to support is the focus on local control.
Correa wanted the extract ban because of worries over butane extraction methods and the numerous explosions they’ve caused. But it was killed after fierce opposition from medical marijuana advocates.
The senator touted the new version of the bill as a “bipartisan effort . . . to properly regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.”
Bill Now Closer to What Industry Wants
It remains unclear how the bill’s backers will respond now that they have lost most of the provisions that made the legislation appealing to them. At the same time, the bill could become more attractive to cannabis proponents.
After years of a largely uncontrolled cannabis market, even industry insiders agree regulations are needed. But they originally put their support behind another bill in the state Assembly.
That proposal would have put a state-level agency in control of medical marijuana law in California – as opposed to Correa’s approach, which would leave that authority with local governments. Lawmakers in the Assembly recently defeated that bill.
Time will tell whether marijuana advocates will come around on Correa’s bill. It still has provisions they don’t like, but it’s much closer to their original goals. The opposite may be true of police and municipal groups, and time will tell whether they stick behind the legislation.