Cal NORML Legislative Update – Hearings on Cultivation Decrim,
Medical Marijuana Regulation, Industrial Hemp
On April 26th, the California Assembly Public Safety Committee
will be hearing Tom Ammiano’s bill AB 1017 to downgrade marijuana
cultivation from a mandatory felony to a wobbler (that is, optional
misdemeanor). AB 1017 is sponsored by the new District Attorney from
Mendocino County, David Eyster, with support from other north coast
officials who believe that it’s a waste of law enforcement resources
to prosecute minor cultivation cases as felonies. The bill is a good
first step; Cal NORML would prefer to see personal use cultivation
The committee will also be hearing AB 1300 by Assembly
Blumenfield, which tries to clarify state laws regarding the power of
local government to regulate medical marijuana collectives:
The present version of the bill suffers technical problems that need
to be fixed.
Also on April 26th, the Senate Public Safety Committee will be
hearing Mark Leno’s bill SB 676 to legalize production of industrial
hemp. The bill has already been approved by the Agriculture
Committee by a vote of 5-1.
On April 27th, the Senate Governance and Finance Committee will
be hearing a pair of bills aimed at regulating medical cannabis
dispensaries and collectives.
(1) SB 847, the Medical Cannabis Licensing Act by Sen. Lou
Correa, would establish a comprehensive statewide licensing system
for production and distribution of marijuana:
SB 847 offers a potential workable framework for state regulation,
but has serious problems that need to be fixed (for example, it
would require licensing of individual patients and small-scale,
not-for-profit collective grows).
(2) SB 626,the Cannabis Certifcation and Regulation Act, by Sen.
Calderon, would require distributors and growers of medical
marijuana to register and have their products certified by the State
Board of Equalization. Extensive records would have to be kept, and
wholesalers would have to pre-pay a portion of the retail sales tax.
SB 626 includes NO guarantee that collectives which complied with the
law would be exempt from prosecution for sales, cultivation, etc.
Cal NORML believes that SB 626 provides inadequate protections for
collectives and offers an unworkable scheme for state regulation.