Collaboration on Medical Cannabis Regulations Sets New Path for Legislature

Friday, May 29, 2015

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) made the following statement after the Assembly Appropriations Committee passed AB 266, which was amended to make Bonta lead author on the bill to regulate the medical cannabis industry. The bill is joint authored by Assemblymembers Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles).

“Today represents a great demonstration of unity and collaboration among my Assembly colleagues on the critical issue of regulating the medical cannabis industry,” said Assemblymember Bonta.

Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, Chair of the Appropriations Committee, applauded the bill. “By bringing together experts in medical marijuana and ensuring the structure for accountability with one central body, the intent of the voters and integrity of local communities will be respected. Cooperation between the state and local governments will provide patients with access while respecting a community’s ability to make local decisions.”

Although California was an early leader on the issue, the state lacks comprehensive regulations to ensure patient access, as well as to protect the environment, public safety, and public health. AB 266 combines critical components of two medical cannabis proposals introduced this year:  AB 34, originally authored by Assemblymembers Bonta and Jones-Sawyer, and AB 266, originally authored by Assemblymember Cooley.  AB 34 was amended to make Assemblymember Cooley the lead author, with identical language as the newly amended AB 266. AB 34 was then held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assemblymember Cooley highlighted the collaborative approach of the bill. “AB 266 is a great blend of ideas that grew out of productive conversations between members, stakeholders, and leadership. I am confident that this unprecedented legislative approach to medical cannabis regulation will serve California well.”

“The new bill establishes strong local control, includes an unprecedented multi-agency effort toward regulation with one overarching agency overseeing the process, establishes strong licensing provisions, and provides protections for patients, the public and the environment,” Bonta explained.

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer stated, “We have always intended to work toward one Assembly bill. We are very glad that that wish has come to fruition.  We intend to continue working collaboratively to address the outstanding issues of all those interested in the regulation of medical marijuana.”

Assemblymember Bonta concluded, “This joint effort demonstrates the great leadership of our house and is an incredible opportunity to finally provide a unified and coherent approach to medical cannabis regulation.  I am committed to continuing to work with all stakeholders on an equal playing field, in strong partnership with my joint authors and colleagues in the Assembly, to ensure we create a robust framework for the industry.”

AB 266 will be eligible to be heard on the Assembly Floor next week.

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. Bonta Chairs the Assembly Health Committee; the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee; and the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. He is also a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services, Joint Legislative Budget, and Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.