Bill Seeks To End California City Medical Cannabis Bans

California was the first state in the USA to allow medical use of cannabis, but not all its cities are medical cannabis-friendly.

Medical cannabis became legal in California way back in 1996 after approval of voter initiative Proposition 215 – it was the state that started it all in the USA. Proposition 215 supported exempting patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician from related criminal laws. 55.58% voted in support.

Then in 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, to legalize the recreational adult use of cannabis in the state.

But as California law currently stands; there are loopholes enabling cities to ban cannabis sales – including for medicinal use. And it seems plenty have.

According to Senator Scott Wiener, 62% of cities have sales bans, meaning residents may need to travel long distances for medicines. The situation is also continuing to fuel California’s illicit market as desperate patients turns to this channel for the relief they seek. This not only undermines the state’s legal, regulated market and the business participating in it, but poses risks to patients in relation to quality.

Senator Wiener is attempting to tackle the situation with Senate Bill 1186 (Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Right of Access Act), which requires cities to provide patients access to purchase medicinal cannabis by delivery (at a minimum).

“Under SB 1186, local jurisdictions retain all of their local control over adult-use (non-medicinal) cannabis businesses,” states the Senator. “This bill simply prevents jurisdictions from prohibiting medicinal cannabis delivery and therefore preventing patients from accessing the medicine they need.”

The bill was introduced in February this year and last week passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee by a vote of 4-1. It has since headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Everyone needs and deserves access – as guaranteed by California voters who passed Prop 215 almost 30 years ago,” stated Senator Wiener.

According to the senator, the California Cannabis Industry Association is sponsoring SB 1186, and the legislation is being supported by the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

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