By Nina Zdinjak

After passing the Senate Business and Professions Committee by a vote of 8-3 in April, Senator Scott Wiener’s Bill 1186, which aims to ensure access to medical cannabis across California, was also approved by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

The bill passed the Senate with a unanimous bipartisan vote, and is now heading to the Assembly for policy hearing, reported Sierra Sun Times.

“Right now, 62% of California cities ban people from purchasing legal medicinal cannabis,” said Senator Wiener. “This fuels the illicit cannabis market and makes it difficult – if not impossible – for people to access the medicine they need. We need to ensure everyone can access medicinal cannabis if they need it; SB 1186 will restore this access across the state.”

medical marijuana
Photo by SageElyse/Getty Images

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On Thursday, California officials launched a new resource providing people with an interactive map showing exactly where marijuana businesses are permitted and where they’re blocked from opening, reported Marijuana Moment.

The map confirms that more than half of the state’s cities and counties do not permit any type of cannabis licensees to operate in their area.

What does the current California law say?

California allows cities to forbid any and all marijuana sales, including MMJ, thus depriving those suffering from HIV, cancer, insomnia, arthritis and other illnesses and disorders from legally obtaining medical marijuana.

RELATED: Senator Pushes To Restore Access To Medical Cannabis In California, Bill Passes Senate Committee

As a result, the illicit cannabis market is booming, which also puts its residents at risk of buying and consuming untested and possibly unsafe cannabis products.

New Bill Summary

Under the SB 1186 cities would be required to allow some kind of medical cannabis access. The choice of how to enable that access would be given to each city. Options include enabling medical marijuana delivery, storefront or both. But, most importantly, if the bill passes into law, cities in California would no longer be allowed to ban all medical cannabis access.

The bill, however, does not alter cities’ right to limit or forbid adult-use cannabis sales. The main idea behind the measure is to prioritize patient health by enabling them access to licensed stores or licensed deliveries.

After all, California was the first state in the U.S. to legalize medical cannabis in 1996, approving Proposition 215, and now medical marijuana is legal in more than 30 states.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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