SB 643 develops desperately needed framework for medical marijuana industry
Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire’s groundbreaking legislation creating an all-encompassing regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry, passed off the Senate floor Thursday morning with significant support.
“This critical legislation will finally provide Northern California and North Coast communities -- along with medical marijuana cultivators -- the regulations and resources they need to address the impacts of this multi-billion dollar industry,” Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) said. The majority of all marijuana grown in the United States comes from Senator McGuire’s Northern California District.
Since the voters of California passed Prop 215 in 1996, Medical Marijuana cultivation and consumption has exploded, both here in the Golden State and around the country. Aside from local zoning regulations, this legal, multibillion-dollar industry is virtually unregulated in the State of California. For two decades now, the State has allowed this industry to grow – for the most part, unchecked – and our communities, our environment and the public’s health has been severely damaged or is at serious risk.
Senator McGuire’s bill, SB 643 – the Medical Marijuana Public Safety and Environmental Protection Act – provides a regulatory framework for the industry covering the issues of environmental protection and water regulations, law enforcement, licensing, public health related to edibles and product testing, to marketing, labeling, taxing, transporting, zoning, local control and re-sale. This bill is only focused on Medical Marijuana and does nothing to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
“Voters passed Prop 215 nearly 20 years ago and the promised rules and regulations from the legislature were never implemented and our communities and environment are now paying the price. Our state’s forests are being sacrificed and rivers are literally running dry due to the state’s impotent approach to regulating marijuana. This is the year to take action and finally solve the problems that have been plaguing our communities for decades,” Senator Mike McGuire said.
Without regulation, illegal water diversions from rogue marijuana grows are devastating watersheds, and the added impact of the state’s historic drought means entire rivers and streams are being sucked dry. Rogue operators have cut down thousands of acres of Northern California forests illegally without regard for the environment, neighboring communities, downstream farms, or endangered species.
In addition, tens of thousands of pounds of pesticides, rodenticides and fertilizers have been dumped into watersheds that flow through Northern California communities. Rogue marijuana grows are the number one source of sediment and nutrient load in Northern California rivers.
On the North Coast, many of the medical marijuana growers are managing small family farm operations and are eager to comply with potential new regulations. SB 643 would provide a legal framework for those farmers who are working with Senator McGuire on this important legislation.
SB 643 would create a statewide comprehensive regulatory program for medical marijuana, preserving local control of licenses and applications, and protecting the environment from illegal trespass grows that dump pesticides and illegally divert millions of gallons of water from rivers and streams.
SB 643 already passed the Senate Business and Professions Committee and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee and will now move to the Assembly.
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