THE GANG OF FOUR
Temecula, CA – As foretold, medical marijuana's worst nightmare came to pass on Friday. At the end of this report, what is being planned.
California lawmakers said late Thursday that they have reached a deal on legislation to regulate and license medical marijuana. This time of year is famous for California lawmakers to push through pork barrel bills due to frenzied action at the last minute.
The regulatory framework to corral the billion-dollar medical cannabis industry will be contained in three bills that have received the blessings of the two chambers and Gov. Jerry Brown, said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, one of the authors of the measures.
Bonta said his measure, which along with the others will be released Friday, would require state and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses. It would create a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to oversee the licensing and regulatory effort and involve the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health.
The new bureau would be housed in the Department of Consumer Affairs and led by a director confirmed by the state Senate. Early word says the hand-picked lad is the one who handed the state this Prop 215 hatchet job and his initials are 'D.D.'
Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, another author, said local cities and counties will be able to place taxes for cultivation and retail on the ballot in addition to the sales taxes on marijuana, and could designate fees to recoup regulation costs.
It has been nearly two decades since voters first approved medical marijuana. But the state has yet to enact a clear set of regulations. Internal squabbling from industry groups, law enforcement objections and resistance by fearful lawmakers has contributed to the delay. With a planned measure to legalize recreational marijuana aiming for next year’s ballot, Brown and legislators have been working on a compromise.
The apparent deal comes after complaints from some supporters that lawmakers were scrambling over who would take credit.
“By the legislature acting though this deliberative process, putting this framework together, the issues this bill addresses will not be superseded by a ballot initiative,” Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, said in an interview. “We will not let someone freelance in a state of nearly 40 million people these kinds of important public safety and public health policies. That is a colossal benefit. And it actually is historic.”
McGuire said his bill will track and trace all medical marijuana, and includes a provision to make cannabis an agricultural product. He said growers will be made to follow the same rules as other farmers for water use, discharge and pesticides. Under Senate Bill 643, localities also would be eligible for grants from a production and mitigation fund, with the money going to law enforcement and cleanup.
He said the agreement calls for mandatory testing, including for edible products, compounds and oils, as a requirement for patient safety.
Not everyone is entirely satisfied. Assemblymember Jim Wood, D- Healdsburg, who also is working on the issue, said that a proposed excise tax to raise tens of millions of dollars for environmental cleanup and public safety was dropped from the package.
“I am disappointed we were not able to reach an agreement that included those resources this year,” Wood said in a statement. “I think good progress has been made and I have educated a number of my colleagues which is a great place to be as I plan to pursue the tax next year."
The other authors of the package are Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale [left], Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles [2nd left], and Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova [right]. Bonta [seated] said late Thursday that he’s optimistic the legislation will continue to be supported by labor unions, law enforcement and local governments*.
“We worked very diligently through the stakeholder process to keep a very broad and diverse coaliton on board,” Bonta said. “And we don’t expect that to change.”
In an interview, McGuire said he and his colleagues have been working with fellow Democrats as well as Republicans to get their backing, including a presentation to the Senate Republican Caucus earlier this week.
Facing a midnight Friday deadline, he said the plan is for the Senate bill to be amended with the new language in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee before heading to the Assembly floor for a vote before returning to the Senate. The Assembly bills will be amended in the Senate Rules Committee before going to the Senate and Assembly.
Much of the delay in the deal stemmed from having to build the regulations from the “ground up,” McGuire said.
“Since Prop. 215 passed almost 20 ago, there have been very few rules and regulations,” he said. “We're making up for 20 years of inaction."
“It's essentially a blank slate.” Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago
With that report we see that the state government, having suffered from their own ineptitude like the majority of agencies plus deliberate Federal Government interference, is overturning a duly passed voter initiative, Prop 215, and other laws already on the books because of money to be made off patients. The people in government in their own words stand convicted by stating public health and safety, then speaking of *taxes, fees, and regulation not by a doctor or a scientist but another career bureaucrat.
Furthermore this is being done because, as stated in Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green, cannabis and capitalism, will never mix. Cannabis is akin to God's Grace. You just shouldn't charge for it or be greedy about it. The powers that be are allowing the government to show the same compassion that got Sodom and Gomorrah their judgment. Given however that our government is the best money can buy, well, don't make me say the words? They all trust in god, sez so on the money.
Meanwhile, as with the Label GMO, the TPP and Fast Track groups, and those Marching Against Monsanto, it is indeed a dark day for the Rebels though nothing is set in stone [no pun intended] yet. Isn't it funny how they can mobilize to tax patients but can't say 'NO' to fracking or YES to food labels that MOMs want for their kids? Is this why we go to Church every Sunday as a nation?
I wish I was sitting in the theater eating popcorn and watching this. It's suspenseful. Instead I'm in the wings, exactly where I said I wanted to be years ago, wondering if the various groups will ever see they need each other, like was on Bob's Burgers last season final episode?