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Governor wants California medical marijuana regulated

By Oscar Pascual |

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to finally install regulations within California’s medical marijuana industry.

After years of inaction, regulations for the state’s multi-billion dollar cannabis trade are closer than ever to becoming law. And after years of mixed signals and silence, Brown and his office have made their desires known.

The Governor’s Office this week issued to the lawmakers involved with regulating cannabis detailed proposals for regulation, the East Bay Express first reported. Brown has made it known that he wants the language included in Assembly Bill 266.

Brown’s proposal, obtained by SF Evergreen, calls for sweeping changes across many different facets of the industry in an effort to better administer medical recommendations and business licenses, enforce the law throughout the state, and assure that the medical products themselves have gone through proper inspection and labeling.

Under Brown’s proposal, the state would install quality assurance reviews for all medical cannabis products, including edibles and flowers.

Licensed businesses would be required to submit all stocked products for pre-sale inspections and testing, as well as provide accurate labeling and packaging.

Cannabis flowers would be inspected for potency, pesticides, mold, and other contaminants, while extracts would be tested for potency and purity at the very minimum.

Business licenses issued for medical marijuana dispensaries would need both local and state approval to operate a business, meaning cities would still be able to ban pot activity outright.

And separate licenses would be issued for retail, distribution, transportation, and cultivation.

Delivery services would have to be tied to an existing dispensary, and any medicine created outside of this system would not be sold in a dispensary.

The Governor’s plans would also remove certain layers of bureaucracy and trim expenses in the process. A General Fund loan would front the $20 million dollar bill for the cost of the newly-implemented regulatory program, which would be paid back to the state through taxes and licensing fees.

These proposals could likely be amended into Assembly Bill 266, as Senate Appropriations voted 5-1 on Thursday to gut, amend, and advance the bill, according to the East Bay Express.

AB 266 was gutted to simply read: “It is the intention of the state legislature to regulate medical marijuana.”

AB 266 will now likely be amended before exiting the state Senate by Sept. 7. All legislation must pass the full Legislature by Sept. 11 in order to be considered for Brown’s final signature. Bills must be signed by October to become law.

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