Wednesday, June 27, 2012

California Assemblyman Ammiano's Bill to Regulate Medical Pot Stalled Until Next Legislative Session

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's attempt to bring order to the often chaotic patchwork of local laws governing marijuana came to a screeching halt.

Ammiano's bill would have required dispensaries to obtain state licenses in addition to local permits, pay a 2 percent tax, set up a state enforcement bureau for collectives, allowed one pot dispensary per 50,000 people and allowed localities to enact their own bans on dispensaries. However, the potential of cities banning dispensaries — which was inserted into the bill after a committee hearing — prompted the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access to withdraw its support for the bill.

ASA spokesman Kris Hermes told the SF Weekly that there are more bans than cities with regulations and that the organization is now "reticent to continue supporting it." Dispensary owners also spoke out against the bill. "AB 2312 favors large-scale, wealthy collective operators over the small collectives providing true community benefit. While statewide guidelines need to be codified, AB 2312 in its current form is a bureaucratic monstrosity that creates more problems than it solves," medical pot activist Degé Coutee wrote.

The bill will return to committee hearings in the fall and may be picked up again in the 2013 session.

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