When it comes to medical marijuana in America, California started it all. California legalized medical marijuana in 1996. Even before medical marijuana became legal in California, there were dispensaries providing access to medicine to patients. But whereas California was once at the forefront of medical marijuana policy, California’s laws have fallen behind. Many other states have codified medical marijuana industry regulations at the state level, but not in California.
The lack of regulations at the state level has led to some headaches. Fortunately, late last week two medical marijuana industry regulation bills, on in each legislative chamber, advanced in California. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
The California Senate and Assembly have passed separate bills that would establish rules on the medical marijuana industry, reviving hope that the state will find a way to push through MMJ regulations this year.
One of the primary differences between the measures involves who will oversee the industry.
The state Senate voted 26-13 in favor of a bill to create a licensing and regulatory framework for every stage of marijuana production and distribution. It would be overseen by a new agency called the Office of Medical Marijuana Regulation that would fall under the Business, Consumer Services Housing Agency.
The state Assembly passed a separate measure by a vote of 62-8 that would spread control and oversight of the industry among several agencies including the governor’s office, the State Board of Equalization, the California Department of Public Health and the state Department of Food and Agriculture.
I would think that having one governing agency would be better. More layers of bureaucracy is rarely a good thing. But each bill is better than what is in place right now, which is nothing. Raids will continue until there are clear rules, and local governments will continue to try to attack safe access as long as state regulations are absent.