Last Friday, California lawmakers passed what many are calling the State’s most significant medical marijuana legislation since Proposition 215 back in November of 1996. The new regulatory framework is comprised of three bills which will require licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries and form a new state-level agency to oversee industry practices.
The official name of the bill is SB-643. This new legislation will likely set the standard for the governance of the cultivation and sale of cannabis in the event that the Golden State legalizes recreational use in 2016.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the newly appointed agency will be responsible for providing licensure to dispensaries and will require growers to “adhere to the laws and regulations imposed on other farmers, including restrictions on pesticides, insecticides and water use.” The bill also calls for mandatory testing of all products (including oils and compounds) to ensure patient safety.
Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) explained that under the new legislation, the state of California will have the ability to track and trace all medical marijuana. The bill also included a provision that will designate marijuana as an agricultural product. Additionally, certain localities would be eligible for grants from a production and mitigation fund, which would help fund local law enforcement and cleanup.
Senator McGuire seemed optimistic about the new bill. “This is better than what we have, the status quo, which is the Wild West.” Although California was the first state to approve medical marijuana, there haven’t been many new rules or regulations since Proposition 215 passed nearly 20 years ago. “We’re making up for 20 years of inaction,” said McGuire.
California has represented the title “The Wild West for over twenty years.” While other States are looking to legalize marijuana by enforcing regulatory compliance, the Golden State hadn’t been able to control the boom that started in 1996 with the passing of proposition 215. With the availability of marijuana tracking software, the California marijuana market can now eliminate the black market and establish a system where only licensed vendors with QA tested marijuana can operate.