Medical Marijuana

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/27/2013 06:43:15 PM PDT
Updated: 05/27/2013 09:53:01 PM PDT

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 force.

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.

To read entire story, click here.on over the law allowed numerous storefront dispensaries to establish themselves over the past few years and even operate openly in cities where their existence is illegal under local ordinances.

The state Supreme Court ruled early this month in a unanimous decision that cities have an absolute right under existing law to forbid dispensaries. In San Bernardino, for example, officials quickly followed the ruling raiding and shutting down dispensaries.

In Los Angeles, by contrast, city voters decided in the May 21 election to allow the city to regulate and tax as many as 135 dispensaries. Although the measure would allow dispensaries to exist in the state’s largest city, there are hundreds of other marijuana providers who could be shuttered as a result of the ballot measure.

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