Lawmakers kill the medical marijuana bill again

Lawmakers kill the medical marijuana bill again

California's historic bill that would have legalized and regulated medical marijuana in the state landed in the dustbin again as the Assembly Appropriations Committee failed to pass the measure within the stipulated time period.

The Senate Bill 1262 (SB 1262) had until yesterday to obtain the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s approval. But, it got no vote.

The now-dead bill aimed to bridge the wide gap between California law enforcement officers and marijuana advocates. But the differences among interest groups led to a distorted bill that could not make fiscal sense.

Sponsored by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), the SB 1262 would have led to set up a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Enforcement under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), co-author of the bill, dropped his support for the measure after negotiations failed to address his concerns.

Dropping his support for the bill, he said, “The final form of SB 1262 included provisions that would have gutted the industry in some parts of California. That was a kind of poison pill and the police chiefs who sponsored the Senate bill wouldn’t budge on that.”

Sponsors of the bill suggested that funding for the measure should come from a state licensing fee of up to $8,000, but that proposed fee was nowhere near the estimated $20 million that would have required for administering the program.

Nearly 200 cities and counties have banned the sale of medical marijuana, while many others have put tough restrictions on the growers and sellers of the recreational weed. Had the legislation cleared the legal hurdles, those restrictions would have come to an end.

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