FINAL HEARING ON AB 266 THURSDAYJim Coffis
(Scroll down for latest update.)
A number of local activists, patients and advocates intend to join counterparts from throughout the state in Sacramento to voice their concerns over AB 266 which comes before the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow.
Chief among the concerns expressed are:
- AB 266 does not protect patient access, will reduce the amount of available medicine and increase costs.
- AB 266 criminalizes providers who have been acting in good faith within existing state and local frameworks.
- AB 266 carves out an exemption for the largest city in the state.
- AB 266 will inhibit or prevent new entrants into the industry and could create monopolies in the distribution, delivery and testing
- AB 266 creates an onerous and overly complex regulatory framework involving no less than 11 state agencies as well as providing for cities and counties to create more regulations including an outright ban.
According to lobbyists, AB 266 represents the most comprehensive legislation ever written in California to regulate the 19 year old medical cannabis industry. The bill has the support of a number of special interest groups representing law enforcement, labor and cities and counties and has moved through Sacramento with little opposition.
The bill spreads regulatory authority among 11 different state agencies. It creates an “Office of Marijuana Regulation” within the Office of the Governor, a new Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation within the State Board of Equalization, a Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing within the California Department of Public Health, and a Division of Medical Cannabis Cultivation within the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Each new regulatory body would have a year to promulgate rules. The costs are estimated to be in excess of $20 million for the first year.
Further amendments to AB 266 Made As Governor’s Office Looks At Costs
This just in:
From the Patient Advocacy Network:
“California Cannabis Coalition, Crusaders for Patient’s Rights, Patient Advocacy Network, Axis of Love and several other statewide activists just completed a conference call with Senator Bonta’s office regarding the changes to AB266. The good news is that they have dropped the arbitrary July 1, 2015 date for provisional licenses. In fact, they have dropped the provisional licenses altogether.”
“Now the bad news. They have NOT dropped the Measure D exemption. They have also not yet included language that will ensure affordability for truly needy patients.
“In addition, they have been made aware that the restrictive definition of the word “primary caregiver” will make affordable access more difficult for those participating in the allowed small collective grows of five patients or fewer should this legislation pass despite our efforts.”
Read the full report with a letter to the Governor and other information on actions you can take here .
You can read a comprehensive analysis from a patient’s rights advocate here:
For information on tomorrow’s Sacramento schedule: