Senate Bill 1186, which aims to put back voter-created access to medical cannabis across California, sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), recently passed the Senate Business and Professions Committee by a vote of 8-3. The bill was sent to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, according to Senator’s official website.
“Access to medical cannabis is both a health and equity issue, which is why we need to ensure everyone who needs this medicine — including seniors, those living in rural areas, and those living with chronic illness — has access,” said Senator Wiener. “No one should have to drive two hours or buy from the illegal market in order to get their medicine. That’s unacceptable and undermines the will of California voters. SB 1186 ensures that every Californian can access medicinal cannabis, either at a store or by delivery.”
The California Cannabis Industry Association is sponsoring SB 1186, while California NORML is also backing the proposed measure.
What does the current California law say?
The Golden State allows cities to forbid any and all marijuana sales, which is something 62% of cities are doing right now, with medical marijuana sales included. This means that those city residents, including the ones who suffer from HIV, cancer, insomnia, arthritis and other illnesses and disorders for which cannabis could be helpful, have no other way than to buy it on the illicit market.
Because of this, the illegal cannabis market in the state is booming, and its residents are at risk of getting contaminated and unsafe cannabis products from illegal sources.
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 are several — 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.
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The bill, however, in no way alters 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.
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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.