Legislation that aims to restore voter-approved access to medical cannabis in California is making progress in the state’s Senate.
Senate Bill 1186, introduced in February by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee April 20 in a 4-1 vote, according to a press release from Wiener’s office.
The legislation would require all cities and counties to provide medical cannabis access through brick-and-mortar dispensaries or delivery services.
The California Cannabis Industry Association is sponsoring the legislation, which is also supported by California NORML.
California’s current law allows municipalities to ban any and all cannabis sales, which has resulted in 62% of the state’s cities banning all sales, including medical, according to the press release from Wiener’s office.
While S.B. 1186 would require cities and counties to provide access to medical cannabis sales, the legislation would not change municipalities’ ability to limit or ban adult-use sales. Proposition 64, which voters passed in 2016 to legalize adult-use cannabis, granted California’s cities and counties the authority to ban adult-use businesses within their jurisdictions, and that authority would be maintained under Wiener’s proposal.
While Prop. 64 did not address medical cannabis, which California voters legalized in 1996 through Proposition 215, the Legislature later gave municipalities the ability to prohibit medical cannabis operations through the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).
“Medical cannabis is life-saving for so many people, and it’s not acceptable for 62% of California cities to ban people from actually purchasing it,” Wiener said in a public statement. “Everyone needs and deserves access—as guaranteed by California voters who passed Prop. 215 almost 30 years ago. When cities ban purchasing medical cannabis, it denies access and fuels the illegal market. S.B. 1186 restores medical cannabis access for those who need it.”
The legislation has advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee for possible consideration.