A bill introduced by a California state senator would bring some clarity to the hazy medical marijuana industry in the state, which has operated without much oversight for nearly two decades, since California voters legalized the substance in 1996.
The bill, proposed by Sen. Lou Correa, an Orange County-area Democrat, would require the state's Department of Public Health to license growers and dispensaries. It would prohibit non-organic pesticides in cultivation, mandate strict security measures at grow-houses and shops, and institute a system of "quality assurance."
An investigation carried out by the Denver Post this week shows how common it is for dispensary customers to get less than they paid for; testing a popular brand of edible products, independent firms found 0.37 and 0.28 milligrams of psychoactive component THC in chocolate bars that promised to pack 100 milligrams.
The bill would also crack down on doctors who are writing recommendations for marijuana more freely than they should; any doctor giving out more than 100 in a year would be subject to an audit by the state medical board, and all doctors wanting to write recommendations would go through mandatory training.
The Associated Press reports that the bill was conceived by California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities, as a countermeasure to the vague law passed in 1996 that sprouted a multi-billion dollar industry.