As we start this post, just after midnight, with less that 24 hours before the 2015 California legislative session ends, the state has not yet posted updated versions of the three medical marijuana regulatory bills: AB 243, AB 266 and SB 643. In the finals days of the session, referred to as ‘Floor Session Only,’ the legislature gutted all three of these bills and re-referred them back to committee, naked.
The other factor at play is that the Senate and Assembly have suspended some key rules. One set of rules that is suspended allows the legislature to amend bills without posting the bill or allowing public input/comment. The other set of suspended rules allows the legislature to call committees and hear bills despite this period being the ‘floor session only,” without public knowledge or input on the committee level. This is what we are referring to when we state that the process has moved behind closed doors.
In the last couple hours the media has begun to post that a deal has been struck and the bills will be voted on today. However, no one has yet to see them and it is anticipated they look very different that they did before they were gutted. The Governor and the California Legislature have bypassed the democratic process while claiming to the media that the process has been transparent and everyone is at the table. Not true!
1.) **Contact Governor Brown.
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Let him know: Governor Brown, Don’t Let This Go Down
No 11th hour, backdoor deals. The public has the right to know what’s in these bills AND be allowed to provide input, feedback, comments. Don’t thwart the democratic process!
2.) ** Contact the bills’ authors with the same message.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta
Phone: (916) 319-2018
Fax: (916) 319-2118
cc emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Mike McGuire
Phone: (916) 651-4002
Fax: (916) 651-4902
Email: email@example.com (despite this being his listed email, messages are bouncing - try this - http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/contact/email)
3.) ** Also send a copy of what you forward to the Governor and the authors, to YOUR California Representatives.
You have one assembly member and one state senator. Most of their contact information is on their individual websites.
4.) ** Forward this information to everyone and post to all your social media all day today.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead
Concerns with previous versions of these bills:
* Excessive taxes and fees - these regulations are to support the Compassionate Use Act not be a revenue stream for the state. The CUA requires that medical cannabis be affordable. Some recent proposals would make medical cannabis so expensive the most vulnerable patients in the state would no longer be able to afford it - the people for whom Prop. 215 was originally intended. (The state will make money from legalization!) But please, not off of the patients.
* Arbitrary dates that put one group of dispensaries in a different category that other just based on when they opened. Many communities are still grappling with regulations and patients who have been working with their cities to operate legitimately should not be held to a different standard.
* Special exemptions from accountability or transparency - previous versions of these bills would've allowed certain players to not have to acquire state certification and hence be exempt from any of those fees or accountability, clearly violating equal protection.
* Over-restrictive permitting - I have seen many regulatory attempts that are so cumbersome and expensive that it constitutes a de facto ban or supports a monopoly.
* No new criminal penalties!