Legislature Passes Budget; Revised Public Safety Items Included

By Shaun Rundle, Legislative & Region Affairs Representative.

To meet their June 15th deadline, last week lawmakers passed a FY 2017-18 budget to send to Governor Jerry Brown. The $183B measure incorporated various stand-alone public safety pieces of legislation into the budget bill. The CPOA-supported AB 6 (Lackey-R) to create a drugged driving task force as well as proposals to better resolve the safety issues of Prop 64 were included in the final budget bill.

Over the last few months Assembly member Tom Lackey (R-Lancaster) has been pushing through the Legislature his bill, AB 6. The bill served as response to Prop 64, where no real enforcement code was created or amended, thereby leaving the law enforcement profession wondering how to implement marijuana use in a vehicle. AB 6 would have created a Drugged Driving task force within the California Highway Patrol, where the Commissioner would appoint and serve as chairperson of the task force. CPOA supported the bill, along with our partners at Cal Chiefs and CNOA. The provisions of AB 6 were merged into the budget bill, thereby putting in place this task force setup.

Not all provisions for cannabis are supported by CPOA, however. Medical and recreational use of marijuana in California will have a single regulator structure as of the budget proposal on the Governor’s desk. In late 2015 the Governor signed a set of bills which created the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). Then in November 2016, voters passed Prop 64 which allows licensing to sell and distribute recreational cannabis starting on January 1, 2018. One of the unified regulatory provisions in the budget bill, is the creation of “A-licenses and licensees.” An “A-license” means a state license issued for cannabis or cannabis products for persons over 21, whereby an “A-licensee” refers to any person holding such a license. Similarly, those licenses particular to medical cannabis will be referred to as “M-licenses.”

The Bureau of Marijuana Control will not oversee regulation of both medical and recreational marijuana use in California.

The budget language regarding marijuana regulation, and further details of the proposal can be found here.

Governor Brown is expected to sign the budget, which will take effect on July 1, 2017.

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