Legislation to protect owners and operators of nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries has been approved by the California Senate. Senate Bill 439 passed today with a 22 to 12 vote, with not a single Republican voting in favor, and now heads to the state’s House of Representatives. If approved, the measure would clear up some of the confusion associated with the state’s fluctuating medical cannabis industry, and would provide dispensary owners the clearest legal protection they’ve ever had in the state.
“We want to create more certainty where little or none exists now”, stated Senate President (Pro Tem) Darrell Steinberg after the vote.
Republican Senator Jim Nielsen argued against the bill, saying, with nothing to back himself up, that medical marijuana causes “huge problems in our communities.” This is, of course, despite several recent studies indicating that medical marijuana safe access points may actually reduce crime, not increase it.
According to the measure’s legislative digest, “This bill provides that a cooperative, collective or other business entity that operates within the Attorney General’s “Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use” (guidelines) will not be subject to prosecution for marijuana possession or commerce, as specified.”
The guidelines, which can be found by clicking here, states that dispensaries be nonprofit.
The proposal is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and is predictably opposed by the California Police Chiefs Association.