Senator McGuire announces agreement to move groundbreaking medical marijuana legislation forward

September 10, 2015

Press Release: Kerrie Lindecker

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), the author of SB 643 – The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act – announced that an agreement has been reached on historic medical marijuana legislation between Governor Brown’s office, the State Senate and State Assembly.

“After two decades of no regulation, I am pleased to report an agreement has been reached on one of the most comprehensive medical marijuana bills in the nation,” Senator McGuire said.

Moving forward as a package are three historic marijuana bills, headlined by Senator McGuire’s SB 643 – legislation that has been two decades in the making and is sprinting toward the finish line. The regulatory framework gained the support of key stakeholders including representatives of public safety organizations, local elected officials and community leaders, medical marijuana growers, environmentalists, labor unions and many others. The Senate and Assembly leadership as well as Governor Brown’s office reached agreement this afternoon on language for the medical marijuana regulatory framework legislation.

“These regulations are long overdue and I’m thrilled that we were able to work together to find common ground on these historic medical marijuana regulations for our state,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “While the bills still need formal approval by the legislature before going to the Governor, we are now closer than ever to securing a regulatory framework for this booming medical marijuana industry.”

SB 643 will be formally amended with the new language in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and will then head to the Assembly floor for a vote and then back to the Senate for concurrence before Friday’s legislative deadline. The Assembly bills will be amended in the Senate Rules Committee before heading to the Senate floor for a vote and then back to the Assembly for concurrence. All three bills are incumbent on the approval and passage of the others before they can head to the Governor’s desk.

“The time is now. Our environment and our communities have been paying the price for the state’s lack of action over the past 20 years and this package of legislation will advance sweeping regulations and desperately needed resources that are necessary to address the impacts of this multi-billion dollar industry.”

“Medical marijuana patients in California will be now fully protected,” Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Angeles) said. “This important bicameral legislation will provide much-needed structure to a multi-billion industry,” he added.

Under the package of legislation, every aspect of the commercial medical marijuana industry would be regulated and subject to licensure – both by the state and local authorities. The bills create a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation under the Department of Consumer Affairs led by a Director who will be confirmed by the Senate. Cities and counties will be eligible for grants from the Marijuana Production and Environmental Mitigation Fund. These monies can be used for local law enforcement activities and environmental cleanup.

Key to SB 643 are provisions that will track and trace all marijuana products, and a provision that will once and for all make medical marijuana officially an agricultural product in California. Cultivators will have to abide by the same rules and regulations as all other agriculture, including water use, water discharge, pesticide and insecticide use and more. SB 643 also includes robust provisions governing indoor and outdoor cultivation standards for small, medium and large growers to ensure that best practices related to land conversion, grading and electricity usage are instituted. The bill makes sure that the environment is cared for and that the products are safe, while also mandating strict standards for transportation to ensure that no marijuana is diverted out of state for illegal use.

Senator McGuire represents the North Coast of California, where the majority of marijuana is grown in the nation.

“The impacts have been horrendous and the drought has had a devastating effect, especially on the North Coast. Entire rivers are running dry as rogue marijuana grows have expanded, diverting millions of gallons of water illegally, and as the fourth year of this historic drought sets in,” McGuire said.