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California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has finally prepared a draft medical marijuana regulation bill, AB 473. The bill, less than two pages in length, establishes a Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement Division within the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), “without making any changes to SB 420 or other laws,” according to Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML.

The text isn’t up on the legislative website yet, but here’s a summary, courtesy of an email from Gieringer:

The bill creates the Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement within the ABC, with a chief executive to be appointed by the director. The division is given the following powers:

• To establish statewide standards for cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, distribution and sales of medical marijuana and MMJ products

• To establish a scale of fees for the above activities

• To adopt, amend, and rescind reasonable regulations for the control of cannabis

• To establish a licensing program and fee structure for cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, distribution and sale of medical marijuana. The program shall include an ID card program that respects the protections of the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act

• The division shall work in conjunction with law enforcement for the purpose of implementing and enforcing the rules and regulations.

“That’s it, bare bones,” Gieringer said. “A lot of questions left unanswered, no doubt to avoid unwanted controversy.”

Activists point out that there could be a problem with turning control of the state’s medical marijuana industry over to the alcohol industry, which reputedly has great influence over the ABC.

“The alcohol lobby was the second largest spender AGAINST MMJ after law enforcement,” “Mendo” Bruce Buckner told Toke Signals Tuesday afternoon. “The ABC is controlled by the alcohol lobby.”

“Why do we want to give total control to a non-elected entity with no recourse when they impose the draconian regulations the alcohol lobby would like to see?” Mendo Bruce asked.

“I am against giving any entity — particularly a non-elected one — carte blanche over medical marijuana,” he said.


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