DABBING OUT DABS IN CALIFORNIA AND TRAMPLING PHYSICIAN DISCRETION
Senator Correa has proposed a bill that would regulate how medical cannabis is recommended, sold, distributed, grown and ingested. Correa's SB-1262 is the first medical cannabis regulation in California that law enforcement associations have sponsored. The law primarily concentrates on outlawing concentrates like oils, waxes and dabs. While this author supports regulation, SB-1262 is merely a veil hiding the ugly behind this proposed bill.
A quick overview of SB-1262: The bill is designed to regulate the distribution, sales and cultivation of medical cannabis by having the Department of Public Health license growers and develop a set of standards for distribution. It also will allow local jurisdictions to outlaw or permit medical cannabis dispensaries. The strength and method of ingestion is the main focus. With SB-1262, law enforcement seeks to outlaw medical cannabis concentrates like honey oils, waxes and, the now popular dabs, outright. Law enforcement associations and lawmakers argue that the making of these butane-based extractions of THC is as dangerous as the processes used in meth labs. Explosions have been reported from these makeshift THC extraction labs and they feel it is a public safety concern. The bill also precludes doctors from recommending medical cannabis concentrates, especially those of butane-based extraction methods.
Further, it intends to monitor doctors who recommend medical cannabis to their patients. If passed, doctors who write more than 100 recommendations for medical cannabis a year, will be audited. It thus requires doctors to report these recommendations to the state Medical Board and it also requires they specify the strain of cannabis, the strength and the method of ingestion.
Although we understand law enforcement's concerns that the chemical process of extracting cannabis can be dangerous, SB-1262 infringes on patients' rights beyond acceptability. Furthermore, many medical cannabis advocates argue that, other than the obvious dangers of making cannabis concentrates, there is no proven medical problem with concentrates. As we saw on CNN recently with Sanjay Gupta's WEED 2, concentrates such as oils are highly beneficial for administration to children with epilepsy. Therefore, this is an unjustifiable limitation to medical cannabis patients.
An Excuse to Raid: It is no secret that law enforcement agencies have been trying to shut down medical cannabis dispensaries since the Compassionate Use Act in 1996 permitted medical cannabis. With the increased popularity of cannabis concentrates, such as dabs, making up 40 percent of the medical cannabis sales, this proposed legislation would give law enforcement agencies a green light to crack down on medical cannabis dispensaries in the state selling these concentrates.
Vote NO on Unnecessary SB-1262 Medical Marijuana Regulation
Too Little. Too Late: SB-1262 would develop a comprehensive regulator system, which would take a while to get up and running. In the meantime, California voters may consider legalizing cannabis for recreation use in November or—more likely—in 2016. It is noteworthy that, last month, the California Democratic Party made legalizing cannabis part of its platform! Therefore, by the time California develops the systems to regulate medicinal use, cannabis may be available to every adult.
While we appreciate law enforcement's desire to regulate this “wild west” of the medical cannabis industry, this new regulation tramples on patients and physician's rights and could possibly violate the first amendment. Therefore, we strongly urge our readers to write to your senate and congress representatives to vote NO on SB-1262.
Meital Manzuri is a Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney, speaker and consultant for patients, collectives and dispensaries. Manzurilaw.com.
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