California State Senator Lou Correa has introduced SB 1262, a set of regulations for the medical marijuana industry conceived by the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities, two groups that have vigorously fought any efforts to regulate medical marijuana in the past.
Covina police Chief Kim Raney, president of the chiefs association, said, “Over 90 percent of the chiefs felt that, regardless of how you felt about the marijuana issue itself, there needed to be a responsible public safety approach to this.” Included in their definition of a “responsible approach”?
1. Any city or country can outright ban medical marijuana dispensaries, as established by the decisions in City of Riverside vs. Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness, Inc. and County of Los Angeles vs. Hill.
2. A doctor must have a “bona fide” relationship with the patient in order to write a medical marijuana recommendation.
3. A recommendation must instruct the patient on how much marijuana to use, what type of marijuana to use by its THC and CBD levels, and whether it should be smoked, vaped, drank or eaten. The physician also must explain why a particular strain was chosen for the patient.
4. “Under no circumstances shall a physician… recommend butane hash oil.”
5. The physician must explain the side effects of marijuana and, if recommending smoking marijuana, the physician must explain why that was chosen over other methods and must explain the health risks of smoking.
6. If the patient is a minor, then the physician must also explain why using marijuana justifies the “possible neurological damage that could be caused." The recommendation must also be approved by a pediatrician and the recommendation can only be for high-CBD non-smoked forms of marijuana.
7. Physicians have to report how many recommendations they make to the California Medical Board and any physician who write more than 100 shall be audited.
8. The medical board will adopt certification procedures for medical marijuana doctors that include training in combatting substance abuse.
9. Any doctor that breaks these rules is subject to a $5,000 fine.
10. The state will develop standards for quality testing of medical marijuana, including a ban on all non-organic pesticides.
11. Licensed dispensaries and cultivation sites will be created, with mandatory security measures, including video recorded evidence of weighed, inventoried marijuana at the cultivation site that must be re-weighed, re-inventoried and re-video recorded at the dispensary within eight hours of arrival.
12. County health department inspectors can enter the dispensary or cultivation site during business hours “and other reasonable times” to inspect, cite, sample, photograph and seize records to ensure compliance.
13. Any violation of the dispensary and cultivation site rules is subject to a $35,000 fine per violation.
Medical marijuana advocates prefer a bill from Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and Sens. Darryl Steinberg and Mark Leno that would place far fewer restrictions on doctors, but Lynne Lyman, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance says her groups is “very encouraged by law enforcement coming to the table with their proposals and we think we can all work together and come up with some model legislation in the state.”