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Medical Cannabis Law May be Changing in CaliforniaJoy Graves Salem-News.com
Californians especially are encouraged to closely examine all details pertaining to any cannabis initiative introduced for your consideration
(SACRAMENTO, CA) - Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, was the first of it's kind passed into an American state law in 1996 by the majority of Californian voters. What 215 did was exempted medical cannabis patients and their doctors from punishment, for those who prefer medicinal cannabis use over pharmaceutical drugs for the state's ill patients suffering from diseases like cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, wasting syndrome, PTSD, pain & etc.
The state law as written by Dennis Peron however, did not provide a crystal clear definition of how medicinal cannabis could be obtained, possessed, nor transferred to patients in need or how, nor did it set limitations or consequence either, what it did, was legally protect the plant and users on a state level... and even that respect has been in question for years as state law enforcement assist as well as snitch California's 215 sanctioned patients year after year all year round.
Efforts from activists such as Steven Deangelo, founder of the now famous Harborside Health Center of Oakland & San Jose, attained city counsel's respect as well as legal support in regards to dispensing medical cannabis to sanctioned patients in exchange for the basic state taxation on a professional level. Numerous storefront dispensaries established themselves in Oakland as well as across the state thereafter prompting other city counsels across the state to begin chiming in and establishing regulated dictation in their local jurisdictions.
Because the state officials continue to encourage and allow division and confusion surrounding the medicinal cannabis law of Prop 215, some have even chose to open & operate openly in cities where their existence is illegal under local ordinances standing on 215 text alone saying even such laws as SB420 have no merit or valid legal standing to be affecting the 215 law.
Now two bills are moving forward toward becoming state law attempting to define and regulate "canna-business" and claiming to be attempting to close the gap of confusion which has been plaguing California medical cannabis patients sine the implementation of Prop 215 into state law, but the question becomes clear, is it really their best attempts, or ultimately are they just attempting to legalize their ability to justify as well as add even more confusion and problem to the medicinal cannabis laws of California?
Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg introduced bill, S.B. 439, which passed a Senate floor vote on Monday over opposition from the chamber's Republican minority. Steinberg's bill would give cannabis collectives that operate according to the state Attorney General's guidelines immunity from prosecution for selling or possessing marijuana. The bill would also allow dispensary operators and employees to receive "reasonable compensation," but would not overturn local governments' power to ban dispensaries within their jurisdiction if they so choose to not allow dispensing.
From a cannabis community members standpoint, I see hypocrisy just within the statements by the state in that single paragraph alone. The state has been doing just as they now propose in S.B. 439 and yet dispensaries have been being closed in record numbers - think about it! California offers no legal immunity under federal law, the biggest problem plaguing cannabis "issues" in California is because individual "jurisdictions" are allowed to separately dictate - Prop 215 was an "All California" law period, and any dictations pertaining to it should as well as needs to be handled in no less of a way, unless your out to have problems.
For those of is who know and are in the California medicinal cannabis world, we know that ultimately this is exactly what's been going on in state thus far, when we buy our medicine from dispensaries, we Are being taxed already. And let us look at Steven Deangelo for a moment, the man who basically initiated Oakland to become the first "jurisdiction" to regulate dispensaries in law - Deangelo paid taxes, and U.S. tax code was used as a weapon in the federal government's to rob him, arrest him, close down his club, and continue their ongoing war against him and legal cannabis community while hiding behind the ill-written federal law. Deangelo faces federal prison, but hey, Oakland got theirs out of his pocket, and the state there fees for his licensing, so "oh well" huh, and he hangs out to dry with no help or protections to be had on a state level - California Canna-business legally at it's finest!
A hearing date has yet be scheduled in the Assembly Public Safety Committee (APSC), which will be an interesting event as the creator of the second bill, A.B. 473, also facing California law makers was introduced by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, whom happens to chair the APSC personally and passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday.
Ammiano's bill would establish a "Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation" within the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The new bureaucracy would have all the power to set standards pertaining to the growing, transporting and selling medical cannabis within the state of California. Cannabis providers would be able to register with the state and cannabis products would be required to meet all labeling as well as quality standards regarding all cannabis product sales.
California government have been regulating and dictating to canna-businesses dispensing the medicine already, did they not ban hashish and cannabis honey oils? California dispensaries have been labeling their products and I don't foresee any issue or dispute with that aspect arising anytime soon. However, cannabis is not alcohol so this being established under the alcohol and beverage division likely will be a problematic issue with the aware cannabis community and citizens with a half a brain, unless of course we're talking the wide variety of medicated beverage options - those I suppose should be overseen by the alcohol people!
Don Duncan, California director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), said "We don't want to see it regulated like alcohol, or tobacco, because there are issues like patient rights." yet ASA admit that there organization are lobbying in support of both bills now moving before California government. I wonder who they're attempting to benefit by knowingly taking such a hypocritical step.
This reporter and long time cannabis activist personally feels that anything less than cannabis liberation, especially sacrifices to the justice overdue the plant on the part of it's defenders, is nothing less than a sell out. Cannabis is a natural living plant that is ultimately harmless and proven beneficial on a multitude of ways. We all know taxation will be inevitable, our job is to ensure that when it happens, it's fair for all, especially the plant. Coming from "officials", these proposals have been a long time expected and coming.
The California Supreme Court ruled earlier this month via an unanimous decision, that individual cities within the state of California have and maintain the absolute right under existing law to forbid dispensaries within their jurisdiction. In San Bernardino, for example, officials quickly followed the ruling raiding and shutting down dispensaries and the same is being attempted in the city of Los Angeles as well, so obviously thanks to them, the chaos and legal confusion will continue - perhaps they should look over to Colorado if they want to find the ground of clarity when it comes to cannabis law.
Even the California Police Chief's Association have pledged to oppose both bills, of course they plant their feet on The federal government's ban on cannabis remaining their objective and plan to continue to bust on that ground regardless of any state law, ultimately meaning no-one will ever be safe in California when it comes to cannabis until the feds are corrected and honor the choice of the people once and for all.
Californians especially are encouraged to closely examine all details pertaining to any cannabis initiative introduced for your consideration, and to biasly research and then decide what is ultimately best and fair for the plant overall because it easily could be your fruit trees and veggie gardens next to fine it's way to such scrutiny and legal dictation.
Joy Maxine Graves, published author, cannabis reporter and photographer is best known for her involvement as a Cannabis Freedom Fighting Activist. Joy has shown herself to be quite the trooper when it comes to fighting for as well as defending Truth, Justice & Honor, for protecting the "weaker guy", and for standing her ground when faced with nothing but hate and diversity. As the #2 most beloved personal "Jack's Girl" to the Emperor of Hemp himself (Jack Herer, RIP) for more than 13 years, which is how Salem-News.com encountered her by the way, we soon-after couldn't help but to noticed her flare for photography as well as her knack with people, and she has become a valuable part of the Salem-News team.
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