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SACRAMENTO – On Monday, Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) announced the introduction of AB 266, a measure to create standards for medical marijuana distribution. AB 266 will establish a balance between California's communities' ability to preserve influence over medical marijuana distribution within their borders, and the rights secured by Proposition 215 (1996) for California's citizens to access medical marijuana. Establishing health, public and environmental safety rules affecting distribution and cultivation, this bill will improve the current status quo and will not alter patients’ existing rights of access to, or cultivation of, medical marijuana provided by Proposition 215.

“For almost twenty years medical marijuana has had no standards at the state or local levels to ensure the safety of patients or the communities where this distribution takes place,” said Cooley. “It is time California addressed this issue in a way that carefully balances patient’s rights and the community’s needs.”

AB 266 creates uniform health and safety standards that will ensure, consistent with prior California court decisions, the lawful distribution of medical marijuana only in those cities and counties in which it is authorized. The bill also supports public safety and advances local control. The bill is co-sponsored by the League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association.

“Our goal is to ensure that our communities, our children, and our environment have the necessary safeguards in place,” says Chief Christopher Boyd, president of the California Police Chiefs Association. “The California Police Chiefs Association recognizes the need for meaningful regulation in medical marijuana. We believe Assemblymember Cooley's bill provides a much needed, long overdue framework to effect a safer implementation of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act.”

“By requiring city approval to operate any marijuana business within city boundaries, independent of the issuance of a state conditional license, this legislation will unconditionally protect local control, including the constitutional authority of cities recognized recently by the California Supreme Court to unilaterally issue or revoke a permit to operate within the city,” said Chris McKenzie, Executive Director for the League of California Cities. 

In 1996, Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act (CUA), decriminalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes as it provided for patient access to medical marijuana and prevented doctors from being penalized for making medical marijuana recommendations.  In 2003, the Legislature’s enactment of SB 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA), clarified some specifics of implementing the CUA, including issuance of identification cards for qualified patients and allowing patients and their primary caregivers to collectively or cooperatively cultivate medical marijuana.  However, neither Proposition 215 nor the MMPA made any attempt to establish broader distribution standards or lay out how it would be implemented in California’s communities. 

Assemblyman Ken Cooley represents the 8th Assembly District which includes the communities of Arden-Arcade, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Murieta, Rosemont, Wilton and other portions of unincorporated Sacramento County.

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