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See / Read Text Of Three State Bills That Create Statewide Framework To Regulate Medical Marijuana (Including Permits, Licenses, Regulations and Taxes); Lets Cities Decide Whether or Not To Allow Medpot Outlets Within Their Borders is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

(Sept. 12, 2015, 7:20 a.m.) -- In the final hours of their 2015 regular legislative session, CA's state Senate and Assembly approved (with bipartisan support) and sent to the Governor (who indicates he approves) three bills that together create a framework to regulate medical cannabis statewide. provides links to the three bills below. On a quick read, the bills contain provisions that give some current state agencies, as well as newly created bodies, the authority to permit, license, review, enforce and enable taxation of medical marijuana outlets, (We provide links below to the bills; we haven't had an oppportunity at this point to review their substance in detail.)

  • AB 266

  • AB 243

  • SB 643
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    The state legislation lets cities decide whether or not to allow medical marijuana outlets to operate within their city limits. On Sept. 1, the LB City Council withheld discussion and possible action on whether to enact a new local medical marijuana ordinance that would let medpot outlets resume operations in Long Beach after a reviewing court struck down LB's initial ordinance. The controversial issue is slated to return to the City Council on Sept. 22.

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    Although most OC and L.A. County cities banned medpot outlets (L.A. was an exception), former LB Councils devoted multiple agenda items -- spanning months stretching into years -- debating, amending and re-amending an ordinance that sought to regulate and allow LB medical marijuana outlets locally. The Council's major advocates in this process included then-voting Councilman/Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and still-voting Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. The Council ultimately enacted an ordinance that didn't satisfy a number of medical marijuana proponents, spawned multiple lawsuits, triggered administrative issues and enforcement costs and didn't pass muster with an appellate Court. With LB's initial ordinance stricken and no enforceable ordinance in place, then-City Attorney Bob Shannon urged the Council to enact a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries to halt a proliferation of uncontrolled outlets until the CA Supreme Court ruled on other legally murky matters.

    After the CA Supreme Court issued its ruling (clarifying some issues), a Council majority moved to enact second LB medical marijuana regulatory ordinance but first appointed an advisory Task Force. (Mayor Garcia said at the time he wouldn't vet the appointees, basically didn't care whom Councilmembers appointed; a Council majority will have the final say.)

    In a detailed itemized June 2015 memo (reported by at this link, City Manager Pat West informed the Mayor and Council that LB's previous medpot ordinance cost LB taxpayers nearly $4 million from FY10 through FY15. That came after a March memo statement that he reiterated in June, which told the Council that the City doesn't have resources currently available to implement a potential new medpot ordinance.

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    LBPD Chief Robert Luna has also told the Council that during the period when LB allowed some outlets to operate (under former Chief, now Sheriff, Jim McDonnell) the result significantly strained LBPD resources and spawned a number of crimes and neighborhood complaints to which officers had to respond. Chief Luna publicly cautioned that if a Council majority were to let medpot operations resume in LB, he will need additional resources to handle the workload. 3rd dist. Councilwoman Suzie Price has publicly voiced similar cautions and concerns.

    LB's previous experiences were under its locally enacted regulatory ordinance, not the new just-enacted statewide regulatory framework, which includes some tax/revenue provisions (whose effects locally haven't been analyzed yet.) Whether the statewide regulatory framework produces different results and possible unintended consquences remains to be seen.



    During Assembly and state Senate discussion, some state lawmakers said they believe the statewide regulatory framework is overdue, since nearly twenty years CA state voters allowed limited personal use of marijuana for medical purposes...and it now also appears likely that one or more petition initiatives (currently collecting signatures) may qualify for 2016 ballot placement...and if approved by voters statewide (as in Colorado) would allow recreational (not just medicinal) marijuana use.

    Marijuana remains a federally designated [by Congress] Class 1 controlled drug...although the Obama administration's Justice Dept. has said it won't enforce some current federal laws if they're consistent with state medical marijuana provisions and meet other DOJ requirements.

    A previous LB City Council voted years ago to add a section to the City's federal legislative agenda [policies the City is supposed to be supporting/advocating] to "Support legislation to classify medical marijuana as a recognized pharmaceutical medication dispensed through pharmacies." Such action would involve legislative action in Congress.

    Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D, Long Beach-West OC) has supported some legislation supportive of medical marijuana dispensaries, but to date we are unaware of any House legislation authored or supported by him (or by Cong. Janice Hahn (D, LA Harbor/southbay) that would do what the City's legislative agenda seeks. For the record, a bill introduced in March 2015 in the U.S. Senate by Senator Cory Booker (D, NJ), joined by co-sponsors Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) -- S 683 -- would downgrade marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Controlled Substances Act. Since then, 12 co-sponsors have been added to the three originating Senators including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D, CA.)

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