Atkins urges governor to sign medical marijuana bills

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Medical-Marijuana

SAN DIEGO — Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and two other lawmakers called Wednesday on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign bills that would establish a statewide regulatory framework for medical marijuana in California.

AB 266 would create an oversight agency called the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation within the Department of Consumer Affairs and would also allow local governments to set up stricter rules, and establish labeling and product testing.

AB 243 aims to prevent further environmental damage by the marijuana growing industry. A Senate bill, SB 643, adds provisions to the Assembly legislation.

“California has needed to provide clear direction on how to move forward on medical marijuana, and now I think we’ve achieved that goal. That’s because we’ve had hundreds of meetings,” Atkins said at a downtown San Diego news conference.

“All the stakeholders came to the table — law enforcement, local agencies, patient advocates, medical marijuana businesses, and even Governor Jerry Brown’s staff participated in helping to create what we have before him to sign, hopefully in the next few days.”

While California’s Compassionate Use Act was approved by voters nearly 20 years ago, the procedures under which medical marijuana is grown and distributed has vexed state and local officials.

The city of San Diego approved a set of regulations in 2011, but they were rescinded when medical marijuana advocates collected enough petition signatures.

Similar laws in San Diego went on the books last year. So far, 11 legal dispensaries have been approved by city officials and two operate legally — one in Otay Mesa and the other in the Midway District.

The county of San Diego also has medical marijuana rules, and a legal dispensary operates in an unincorporated area near El Cajon.

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