California lawmakers considering new rules for medical marijuana

28.05.2013 15:52

A pair of bills that would enhance
the legal standing of medical
marijuana providers have advanced
in the Legislature following this
month's landmark court ruling that
affirmed the rights of local
governments to ban dispensaries.
The bills are two components of
the ongoing and often passionate
arguments between Californians
who support brick-and-mortar
marijuana dispensaries and those
who oppose such storefront
operations as "pot shops" that
often provide marijuana to people
lacking serious medical problems.
On one side, two of the
Legislature's leading Democrats are
backing the bills in the face of
opposition from Republicans and
law enforcement leaders. The
California Police Chief's Association
has pledged to oppose the bills,
which would create new regulations
and protections for medical
marijuana providers within state
law. The federal government's ban
on marijuana would remain in
The more ambitious of the two
bills, from San Francisco
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano,
passed the Assembly
Appropriations Committee on
Friday. Ammiano's bill would
establish Division of Medical
Marijuana Regulation within the
state's Department of Alcoholic
Beverage Control. The new
bureaucracy would have power to
set standards for growing,
transporting and selling medical
marijuana. Providers would be able
to register with the state and
marijuana products would be
required to meet labeling and
quality standards.