California lawmakers over the weekend approved bills that would license and regulate marijuana dispensaries statewide.

Lawmakers came to a last-minute agreement with the office of Gov. Brown to shape the bills in a way that was agreeable for all sides.

“Governor Brown and his colleagues in the legislature have just given the green light to let California’s cannabis industry become the thriving, tax-paying, job-creating industry it was always destined to become,” said Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association.

Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) called the agreement “historic.”

The bills appear to include AB 266, AB 243, and SB 643, approved by the state Assembly and Senate late Friday. The legislation would establish a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. It would be empowered to police and license dispensaries statewide.

The bureau would belong the Department of Consumer Affairs. “The bureau shall make and prescribe reasonable rules,” the language of one bill says.

Cities would still be able to ban collectives outright. And dispensaries would need licenses from state and local officials to keep on selling.

AB 643 would provide new rules for doctors, too. For example, doctors could be punished for “repeated acts of clearly excessive prescribing, furnishing, or administering of controlled substances, or repeated acts of prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing of controlled substances without a good faith prior examination of the patient,” according to its language.

The legislation would also establish wine-style “appellations of origin for marijuana grown in California.”

Pot products reaching consumers would have to be tested. And growers would also face new rules. At the same time, they would also be somewhat legitimized.

Marijuana groups have so-far welcomed the regulation as a shield against overzealous police and municipal officials. Some backers of recreational legalization in California see the new rules as a framework for their cannabis sales should voters pass at least one initiative next year.

Bradley of the California Cannabis Industry Association says:

After 20 years without statewide regulations, the California Legislature has taken an important first step in creating a legal framework for medical cannabis. The biggest winners are patients, who can expect a safer, more professional industry backed by independent testing of cannabis products and environmental regulation.

Gov. Brown still needs to sign the bills.

About The Author

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Raul Duke has been working as a journalist in Southern California for two decades. The medical marijuana juggernaut is one of his many beats. He's a longtime Westside resident who needs to renew his doctor's recommendation soon. If you have news tips, reach out: raul@the420times.com

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