Oakland, Calif. -AB 604, which would comprehensively regulate medical cannabis on a statewide basis, suffered a narrow loss in the California Legislature last week. Advocates and legislators promised to reintroduce the measure in the next legislative session, and predicted success at that time. AB 604 garnered last minute bipartisan support in the wake of Assistant Attorney General James Cole’s testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, in which he called on states that had legalized cannabis—whether for medical or adult use—to rigorously regulate its cultivation and distribution and make it a high priority in the next legislative session.
“While we are disappointed that the legislature failed to pass medical cannabis regulations this session, we still expect passage next session,” said Steve DeAngelo, executive director of Harborside Health Center, the state’s largest model medical cannabis dispensary recently targeted by federal forfeiture actions spearheaded by local U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. “More legislators are realizing every day that Deputy Attorney General James Cole was right when he told the U.S. Senate that states which have legalized cannabis must also regulate it—or a dangerous black market will be created. Had the legislative session lasted another day or two, regulation of medical cannabis would surely have passed.”
Had AB 604 passed, it would have implemented one of the nation’s strictest systems of cannabis regulation. The bill authorized the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to set up a new Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement to monitor commercial production, transportation and sales of medical cannabis. All producers and distributors would be subject to rigorous licensing requirements and operating conditions; while all cannabis would be tracked from seed to sale. Law enforcement would be provided with clear directions; local communities would be empowered to opt out of the system entirely; and abuses of “pot docs” and recommendation mills would be curtailed. Fully implemented, AB 604 would provide patients with safe access to the medicine their doctors recommended, while protecting local communities and young people.
About Harborside Health Center:
Founded by national cannabis leader Steve DeAngelo in 2006, Harborside Health Center is the nation’s largest, not-for-profit, model medical cannabis dispensary. The San Jose and Oakland medicinal cannabis collective offers its 128,000 registered patients free holistic healing services, lab-tested medicine and education. Harborside was featured on the Discovery Channel’s miniseries, “Weed Wars,” in December of 2011and Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Inside Man’ on CNN in June of 2013 as well as the cover feature story in Fortune Magazine in April 2013. DeAngelo also founded the nation’s first cannabis investment firm, The Arc View Group.
“Out of the shadows and into the light” epitomizes DeAngelo’s mission to enlighten the public on the many medicinal and therapeutic benefits of the plant and actively works to empower the country to change its image of medical marijuana. For more info, visit www.harborsidehealthcenter.com and www.stevedeangelo.com.