Proposal Would Create Comprehensive Regulations on California Cannabis Dispensaries, Growers

California medical marijuana laws, cannabis regulations

Several years ago, California was the undisputed heavyweight of the medical marijuana industry, home to 2,000-plus dispensaries that generated an estimated $1.3 billion or more in marijuana sales annually.

But a federal crackdown coupled with a sizable backlash in many communities has hammered the state’s MMJ industry, forcing hundreds of centers out of business and leading to a large decrease in medical marijuana revenues.

California still has the largest medical marijuana market in the country, with roughly $700 million to $900 million in annual MMJ retail sales, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook 2013 (which you can learn more about here). However, its influence is waning, in large part because a lack of state-level regulations on dispensaries has created a unpredictable business climate that leaves itself wide open to chaos.

One lawmaker hopes to change that, introducing a bill this week that would create state-level regulations on the medical cannabis industry.

The measure – AB 473, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) – doesn’t have a ton of details at this point. In general, though, it calls for the creation of the Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation, which would set operational standards, overall rules and related fees on MMJ operations. The new agency would operate under the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Regulations would cover everything from cultivation and processing to testing and sales. Dispensaries and related operations – including growers and testing companies – would be forced to obtain permits to operate in the state. You can read a copy of the amended bill here.

Although many residents, officials and medical cannabis advocates agree that a solution is needed, Ammiano faces an uphill battle. He was forced to table an MMJ regulation bill last year after facing stiff opposition from many groups, including law enforcement officials.

Still, something needs to be done. California is one of the most volatile MMJ markets in the country, and the only way to reverse the situation is through state-wide regulations. Given the lack of direction from California officials, many cities have banned dispensaries or enacted tough regulations that have limited the industry’s potential.

Amid this uncertain business climate, voters in Los Angeles will weigh in on several proposals this spring that could drastically reshape the city’s MMJ industry – which ranks as the largest single market in the country. One of the proposals would force most of the city’s estimated 700 dispensaries to close, wiping out hundreds of millions in medical cannabis revenues.

4 comments on “Proposal Would Create Comprehensive Regulations on California Cannabis Dispensaries, Growers
  1. Jack Stevens on

    It is disappointing to see that law enforcement, government officials and half of the public at large can’t see the forest through the trees! If Cannabis was discovered today in the Amazon, it would be heralded as the worlds greatest medicinal find in the world. It is a shame that it will never reach it’s potential to help human beings due to the political and economical baggage that it carries. The Golden Turd Award goes to greed and coruption, Rockafeller and Hearst and the bought off politicians and law enforcement.

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  2. William W. West on

    Again a wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing, It’s all a guise to set into place higher pricing, and other restrictions. What the hell is going on? This country didn’t go through this much with alcohol Prohibition.
    I suggest looking at his past and what he tried before, most keep the same pattern just use different wording, Remember he also supported AB-2312, that was worst than prop 19. Wake me up when there is an actual movement forward for patients, not just using them as props to gather votes.

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  3. Mendo Bruce on

    I am opposed to AB473. I do not believe the ABC should be regulating MEDICAL marijuana as this is a healthcare issue not a recreational one. While I might agree that commercial cannabis enterprises may need state-wide regulation, small non-commercial home-grows of patients providing medicine for themselves and their families and friends must be exempted. These patients are among the poorest and least able to navigate bureaucratic obstacles and are the first to prosecuted by law enforcement. Adding more administrative infractions for them to prosecuted with is immoral. I also believe regulation is best left to an elected board, so as to give those regulated some recourse should draconian rules be adopted

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  4. Cheri on

    We’re talking about MEDICINE!!! Accepting DABC control is tacit agreement this is recreational like the alcohol DABC regulates. Accepting fees and taxation on medicine is ridiculous when pharmaceutical companies and their delivery systems do not pay for it. If CA wants medicine, we need lobbying like big pharma to protect our right to medicine. Regulations are not the answer.

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