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New California Law Establishes Board of Medical Marijuana Regulation

The California legislature recently enacted AB 266, a law which established the California Board of Medical Marijuana Regulation. When signed by the Governor, this law, for the will create a series of regulations that set standards for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana in California.

When Medical Marijuana legalization occurred in 1996 there was no actual regulation to govern implementation of the law.  All that Prop 215 did was confer a right upon qualified patients to possess, cultivate and share medical marijuana.  These new laws are meant to address this almost 20 year regulatory void.  Problematically, regulation and its implementation only became more difficult as time passed.  The stakeholders in the industry all became accustomed to the status quo, which is to say there have not been any standards other than some broad reaching case law and scattered local regulations.

The creation of a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation will streamline the process to legitimacy for all the industry players.  There shouldn’t be a grey area in the medical marijuana space and those business and individuals that wish to comply with the law, should be able to do so without the fear that they may be doing something wrong.

Because lawyers working with medical marijuana providers and patients have never been able to point to a concrete set of rule to assist their clients, their ability to comply with the law has been inconsistent.  This inconsistency has led to inconsistent prosecution of medical marijuana stakeholders who would attempt to comply by following the most common and common sense self-imposed rules and crossing their fingers.  Passage of these laws and the implementation of a regulatory body gives practitioners clear guideline and a resource assist clients.  The goal should be to provide stability and protection.

We are still concerned that the bill is slightly vague on specific regulation implementation. For instance, who will be eligible to get a license to cultivate under the new law and what requirements would be needed to get that license?  If a business or individual was denied a license, would there be an appeals process? What “security standards” can the city or state implement to provide security for the dispensaries that have been approved for licenses.? The details aren’t set as of yet and concerning to the practitioner that may already assist medical marijuana businesses and are waiting to determine what other regulations their clients may need to comply with in the future and also for those practitioners representing clients that they anticipate will have trouble complying with the law.


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