Despite the setback in Los Angeles as a dispensary ban is considered, the medical marijuana cause is still going strong with very positive news across the country. It’s still unclear if the Los Angeles ban, which would hurt both patients and the economy, will go into effect. Meanwhile, in Sacramento positive steps are being made for the regulation of medical marijuana. Even more encouraging is the fact that Connecticut has officially passed its medical marijuana law. Finally, New Jersey is on the verge of opening its first dispensaries.
Earlier this week, a three-person council voted to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries in the Los Angeles area and outlaw new ones from opening. The city has struggled with regulation of distribution for years, but shutting down the dispensaries will only make it more difficult for patients to receive treatment and will leave hundreds unemployed. It is being argued that banning dispensaries will only take the industry back to dealing illegally – and dangerously. A highly supported counterproposal was advanced to leave 100 dispensaries open.
In a 41-28 vote, the California State Assembly passed a bill that would regulate the production and distribution of medical marijuana for qualified patients. AB 2312, the Medical Marijuana Regulate, Control and Tax Act, was introduced earlier this year by Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and others.
“More than 15 years after Californians passed Proposition 215, patients are still in need of a commonsense approach to the production and distribution of medical marijuana,” said Don Duncan, California Director with Americans for Safe Access. The bill would assist patients in accessibility of medicine while increasing revenue for California significantly.
The implementation of the bill is largely thanks to a grassroots movement, led by Americans for Safe Access. More than 300 patients and policy advocates stormed the Capitol, meeting with each member of the state legislature and urging them to pass the bill. AB 2312 will now proceed to the State Senate, where it must pass out of committee by July 6th and must come to a Senate floor vote by August 31st.
In May, Connecticut passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana for illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy and Chrohn’s disease…and it passed! Connecticut’s government website has all the information. Congratulations on becoming the 17th state to legalize, Connecticut!
The New York Times provides coverage of two soon-to-be dispensaries in New Jersey. Jersey legalized medical marijuana use almost two and a half years ago, but dispensaries have not yet opened.