Gov. Jerry Brown Signs new marijuana legislation
October 10, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a trio of bills into law Friday that establish statewide rules on the growth, distribution and sale of marijuana.
“This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system,” Brown wrote. “This sends a clear and certain signal to our federal counterparts that California is implementing robust controls not only on paper, but in practice.”
AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643 create standards for licensing businesses as well as testing, packaging, labeling, and tracking marijuana products, among other things. The bills also establish a new agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, which will oversee the system.
Medical marijuana businesses will need to obtain local approval to continue operating. The bureau is slated to develop detailed rules by Jan. 2017, and businesses will begin to apply for state licenses in Jan. 2018, at which point the current system of collectives and cooperatives will be phased out.
In 1996, California became the first state to adopt a law that allows seriously ill patients to legally access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The law did not include a regulatory structure, resulting in a patchwork system in which some communities allowed medical marijuana providers to operate under local regulations while others opted to prohibit such operations entirely.
“These regulations will ensure patients have legal, safe, and consistent access to medical marijuana,” said Lauren Vazquez, Oakland-based deputy director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “New guidelines for testing and labeling products will ensure patients know what they are getting and that it meets appropriate standards for quality.”