California’s Medical Marijuana Industry Gets A Much-needed Kick In The Pants

(Photo by David Walter Banks for The Washington Post via Getty Images) | The Washington Post via Getty Images reddit More: California Medical Marijuana Regulations Marijuana Marijuana Medical Marijuana Marijuana California California Marijuana Regulations Marijuana Regulations California Medical Marijuana California Marijuana After multiple failed attempts at regulating California’s haphazard medical marijuana program, one state lawmaker has introduced legislation he believes will finally establish some order to the state’s multibillion-dollar industry. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), whose measure, introduced last month, would create a statewide set of rules for California’s marijuana businesses. “People have seen that the more regulation you have, the less chaos you have.” In recent years, Ammiano has sponsored a number of similar bills, each of which has stalled or was stopped by opponents who argued the legislation didn’t address key issues, such as the environmental impacts of marijuana cultivation or the ability of local governments to tax the product. Ammiano says his latest measure, AB 1894 , addresses every concern and more. California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes when voters passed the landmark Proposition 215 in 1996. But since then, the state has failed to establish uniform regulations to govern the industry, leaving the implementation of a vague medical cannabis law to local municipalities instead. Some cities, like Oakland and San Francisco, have enacted clear-cut rules that dictate where dispensaries can operate and levy fees that generate revenue for local government. Other places, like Los Angeles and San Diego, remain largely unregulated, with very little control over the number of dispensaries or the criteria for doctor recommendations. Since marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, the lack of a statewide standard has left California vulnerable to crackdowns.
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