Golden State Drafts Medical Pot Regulations

     SACRAMENTO (CN) – California’s state assembly reached a bipartisan agreement on a “historic framework” to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry, lawmakers announced Friday.
     The bill, AB 266, will “ensure patient access, as well as protect the environment, public safety, and public health,” according to a press release.
     It marks the first time in state history that framework for medical marijuana regulation has been agreed to by the state assembly, the state senate and the governor’s office.
     California was the first state in the country to allow medical marijuana use when Proposition 215 passed in 1996. But the state still lacks comprehensive regulation of the industry, the release says.
     AB 266 would require state and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses, and the licensing would be overseen by a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, with help from the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health.
     Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, the bill’s lead author, said in a statement that the bill is the result of “an unprecedented stakeholder process.”
     “My colleagues and I brought everyone to the table, from medical marijuana businesses to law enforcement and patient advocates, to create a comprehensive regulatory framework for the state’s billion-dollar medical marijuana industry,” Bonta said.
     One of the bill’s joint authors, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, helped draft a portion of the bill that provides for drugged driving identification and prevention.
     “California is in dire need of a strong bipartisan consensus to manage medical marijuana,” Lackey said in a statement. “I am proud that this will pave the way for a comprehensive study of strategies to cut down on marijuana-impaired driving, which is a growing problem nationwide.”
     The bill will soon be referred by the senate rules committee to a policy committee.

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