California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, over a million people have obtained a doctor’s permission to use medical marijuana. Thousands of medical marijuana dispensaries have operated in California at one point in time or another, and the California medical marijuana industry has been estimated to be as large as 1.8 billion dollars. All of this has been occurring with little to no regulations.
A lack of clear regulations has led to a lot of problems. City and county ordinances clash with state law, which of course clashes with federal law. Medical marijuana case law in California is a nightmare to make sense of. This level of public policy chaos needs to be tamed if California’s medical marijuana industry is ever to reach it’s full potential. Senate Bill 1262 was introduced this year to try to get some regulations in place, but due to various factors, it failed to get out of committee and get a full vote. The bill is now dead. Per SF Gate:
The Assembly Appropriations Committee failed to pass Senate Bill 1262 this afternoon. The bill had until today to get out of Appropriations, and the end of the month to pass the Assembly. It was “held in committee”. No vote was given.
“We’ll have to get started working on this again in January,” said Don Duncan, head of California Americans for Safe Access, the day before the hearing.
Sponsored by Southern California Sen. Lou Correa, SB 1262 faced huge hurdles to get to the Governor’s desk and a nail-biting finale at Assembly Appropriations.
The bill left a lot to be desired. I don’t know too many activists or organizations that supported it because of how hard it would be to implement, how hard it would be to get industry licensing under the bill, and also because of big holes in the bill that made it almost unworkable. California needs good regulations in place to fix the cluster F that is California’s medical marijuana program. California’s program is better than many other in the nation, but without regulations, it will always be under attack. I can’t wait until 2016 when recreational legalization is passed in California, which will no doubt be accompanied by clearer rules and regulations.