By Steve Elliott
A record-breaking 13 bills are in the California Legislature this year dealing with marijuana, and most of them deal specifically with medicinal cannabis. Some of the bills would be quite damaging, including legislation that would criminalize some types of cultivation and concentrate manufacturing.
The bill with the most far-reaching consequences is AB 266, according to activist Lanny Swerdlow of the BlogTalkRadio.com show "Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense." According to Swerdlow, this bill is an attempt to put some state controls on California's patchwork of local regulations.
The bill would create a new Governor's Office of MMJ Regulation to oversee and coordinate three new MMJ regulatory divisions:
1) The Department of Food and Agriculture for cultivation;
2) Public Health for product safety and labeling; and
3) The Board of Equalization for licensing.
The major action, according to Swerdlow, would be by the Board of Equalization acting in coordination with other state agencies to write and enforce regulations for commercial medical marijuana distribution, and to issue provisional licenses for medicinal cannabis organizations, contingent on local licensing approval.
AB 266 also would prioritize enforcement against doctors accused of writing inappropriate medical marijuana recommendations, would create an apprenticeship program for the medicinal cannabis industry, would authorize additional local taxation, and more.