Regulatory medical cannabis bill co-authored by Bonta passes Assembly

Assemblymember Rob Bonta

ASSEMBLY | 18TH DISTRICT | A bill co-authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta and two other Southern California Democrats that would offer the state a mechanism for overseeing its notoriously under-regulated medical cannabis industry passed the Assembly Thursday with clear bipartisan support, 60-8.

Assembly Bill 266 creates an Office of Marijuana Regulation under the purview of the governor and enacts a licensing structure for medical cannabis dispensaries to conduct business. Local governments would also be allowed to continue their own current oversight and licensing in their jurisdiction, according to the legislation.

Since voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996 to allow the sale of cannabis through dispensaries to patients with a physician’s approval, the burgeoning industry has seen little local and state oversight. Authors of the bill say other states have exceeded California’s efforts to provide medical cannabis to needy patients. In recent years, several states have gone a step further and legalized cannabis altogether.

All three of the legislation’s author represent areas with strong presences of medical cannabis dispensaries. Bonta in Oakland and Assemblymembers Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Ken Cooley in Southern California

The authors called Thursday’s vote “historic” for its wide-ranging support on an issue that has in the past polarized Sacramento.

When one Republican lawmaker Thursday disagreed with the bill’s ability to limit children from getting access to cannabis-infused snacks, according to the Associated Press, Assemblymember Jim Cooper, said of the industry, “It’s the wild, Wild West.”

Bonta responded, AP reported: “There was a reference to the wild West, and that is what this bill is trying to move away from.”

The bill heads to the State Senate for consideration starting later this month.

2 thoughts on “Regulatory medical cannabis bill co-authored by Bonta passes Assembly

  1. HEAR, HEAR, 10:52!!!

    Regulations to keep children away from cannabis infused candy??? How about regulations to keep kids out of the liquor cabinet, or maybe even grocery stores too? Or maybe regulation to keep kids out from under the kitchen sink? Plenty of dangerous chemicals there!!!

    We don't need any regulation. This is just another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy that just makes it more difficult for honest, tax-paying patients to get their medication; which most have to pay for out of pocket since insurance companies wont even cover it.

    Either decriminalize altogether, or stay he hell out of it.


  2. Poor Bonta is forever well-intended but so completely moronic.

    As for the writer's opinion about “under-regulation” of the industry, I think he needs to go back to kindergarten and start again.

    The simple, effective, practical, low economic and social cost approach to dealing with marijuana is to decriminalize it, period.

    Yes, parents will have to make sure that their children don't use pot or don't use it in a harmful way. We as a society are never going to treat young people in a better way than through good parenting. State laws just don't work–look at the juvenile justice system and its long-time use of solitary confinement.

    Ongoing state regulation and control of pot will only continue all the social problems of prohibition of a relatively beneficial and unharmful natural substance.

    The examples of Washington state and Colorado provide evidence that really progressive forces support simple decriminalization or broad legalization rather than yet another complex, expensive and exploitative state regulatory scheme.

    Grow up Bonta. Grow up Tavares.


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