CA Lawmakers: Adopt Sensible Regulations for Medical Cannabis

California voters called on their elected officials “to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana” when they approved Proposition 215 in 1996, but state lawmakers have yet to adopt a comprehensive regulatory program.  In response to divergent interpretations of the law and inconsistent enforcement across the state, patients, local governments, the Attorney General, and others are calling on the state legislature to finally heed the voters’ call.

The “Principles of Sensible Medical Cannabis Regulation” were developed in consultation with patients, cultivators, workers, and other medical cannabis stakeholders over the last year. We are presenting them to lawmakers to illustrate what we would like to see in current and future legislation. Regulation makes sense for everyone in California. These basic principles define a regulatory framework that will benefit patients and their communities, and also describe sensible regulations that will prevent abuse, ensure accountability, save law enforcement resources, generate tax revenue, and create jobs.

Scroll down to read the “Principles of Sensible Medical Cannabis Regulation” and ask your Representatives to uphold them.

Principles of Sensible Medical Cannabis Regulation:

1.    Individual patients and their primary caregivers should be allowed to cultivate their own medicine, individually or collectively, so long as the activity is non-commercial in nature.

2.    State regulations should recognize the environmental and economic advantages of outdoor cultivation, and protect the right of individual patients and their primary caregivers to grow medicine outdoors and in green houses.

3.    Patients should have safe and dignified access to medicine in every community in the state. State regulations should encourage communities to provide access through local dispensaries, or where this is unfeasible, through regulated delivery services.

4.    Medical cannabis, including edible preparations, should be tested for biological and chemical contaminants to protect patients' welfare and for cannabinoid content. Testing should be conducted in accordance with accepted professional standards for the herbal products industry.

5.    Medical cannabis cooperatives, collectives, and businesses should be required to operate in accordance with the
standards published by the American Herbal Products Association in January of 2013.

6.    Taxation of medical cannabis should be eliminated or kept at levels consistent with over-the-counter and herbal medicines. Excessive taxation (“sin tax”) is harmful to legal patients.

7.    The state should explicitly authorize legally organized and operated patients' cooperatives and collectives,
as described by the California Attorney General, to receive compensation for providing medicine to members.

8.    State and local regulation of medical cannabis should facilitate, rather than roll back, access for legitimate patients. Onerous zoning, land use, and licensing restrictions should be discouraged to the extent possible under state law.

9.    State regulation of medical cannabis should be administered as a health care and consumer protection issue, not as a criminal justice issue or in a manner similar to alcohol or tobacco.

10.    Legal patients should be protected from discrimination in employment and parental rights under state law and enjoy equal access to housing and health care.

11.    The legislature should remove medical cannabis from the schedules of controlled substances under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act or reschedule it to reflect its proven safety and currently accepted medical use.