Medical marijuana clinics and growing operations would come under closer state scrutiny under a bill now making its way through the California Senate.
The legislation introduced by Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, would require the state’s Department of Public Health to license dispensing facilities and cultivation sites that provide, process and grow marijuana for medical use.
The bill would also establish quality assurance testing of the marijuana, require sufficient security measures be in place to prevent thefts and mandate clinics report any security breaches within 24 hours. County health departments would enforce the measures if they become law with oversight by the state health department.
Correa brought the bill to the Senate in late February and it currently is pending in the Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee. The proposed legislation has the backing of the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities.
While medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 1996, regulating the industry has proved tricky for municipalities.
In the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles, the city has struggled to implement various systems to control medical marijuana, including a moratorium, various limits on the number of shops and restrictions on their hours of operation. In 2012, the City Council voted to shut down the 763 registered clinics and take legal action if the shops did not close. Less than three months later, the council reversed its decision and repealed the ban.
In May of last year, city voters approved a ballot measure limiting the number of medical marijuana dispensaries to the 135 that existed in 2007 and raising taxes on those shops. However, the law has not been fully implemented.