September 11. From Dege Coutee of the Patient Advocacy Network

There has been a lack of information and misinformation coming from
Sacramento regarding the new statewide medical cannabis bill(s).  You may
have even received emails encouraging you to support a wicked attempt to
create a coercive monopoly of pay-to-play dispensaries.

Last Friday we learned that Assembly Member Tom Ammiano completely gutted
a bill, AB 604 and inserted an amended version of his bill defeated
earlier this year – AB 473, the ‘seed to sale’ registration program:

In February AB 604 was originally a bill about criminal investigations and
begins:  “AB 604, as introduced… Criminal investigations: eyewitness
identification.  Existing law allows opinion testimony from expert
witnesses to be admitted at trial…”

As of Sept. 6th, AB 604 is now:  “AB 604, as amended, Ammiano. Medical
cannabis: state regulation and enforcement.”

Interestingly, a bill that was about apples in February has been
completely gutted and turned into an orange without ever having to go back
to the Assembly for approval.  Ammiano has handed the orange over to the
Senate for a vote in the 11th hour – session ends this Friday.

The bill is a ‘seed to sale’ registration program requiring that all
persons involved with medical cannabis be permitted by the State: “This
bill would enact the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act and would
create the Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement within
the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control… would grant the department
the exclusive power to register persons for the cultivation, manufacture,
testing, transportation, storage, distribution, and sale of medical

That’s correct.  All cultivators, hash makers, cookie bakers, collective
employees, etc., are required to apply for a permit and pay an annual fee
to Alcohol Beverage Control.  If you don’t, you can spend up to a year in
jail and pay a fine of $1,000 – $25,000.  This will NOT keep medical
cannabis affordable!  This in NOT ending incarceration over pot!  The bill
does nothing to stop the bans, actually re-enforces the Riverside decision
and promotes caps.  Banking issues are not addressed. Oversight and
accountability of the overseers is lacking making the permitting process
open for corruption and favoritism.

Patient Advocates want good regulations but not THESE regulations.
Attempts by patients to bring workable ideas to the table have been
repeatedly blocked by industry lobbyists working to ensure that only a few
collectives are approved by this ‘exclusive power’ process.  Make your
voice heard!

Contact your State Senator immediately and let him/her know that you
OPPOSE AB 604.  Let them know the ABC is not appropriate for medical
cannabis – the health dept. is.  Medical cannabis needs to be kept
affordable.  Extensive registration programs are expensive and should not
be paid for by sick and dying patients.  Expensive programs overseen by
the ABC are more appropriate for adult recreational use.  Sacramento, stop
trying to profit off of patients and just legalize it!
Find your CA rep:

A phone call or a FAX is the best as emails regularly end up in the spam
bin.   Also, if you live in Senate district 26, you don’t have Senator to
call; the district with more collectives than any district in the State
right now has no representation.  In that case, call your assembly member
and file your input with the Senate Clerk.
Contact the Senate Clerk:

Contact the bill sponsors to let them know you OPPOSE AB 604.  Tell them
they have not taken input from true stakeholders.  ABC is bad for medical
cannabis.  Today’s Senate meeting agenda was posted after midnight .
These tactics circumvent a fair and open democratic process.

Assembly Member Tom Ammiano
Phone: (916) 319-2017
Fax: (916) 319-2117

Senator Mark Leno
Phone:  (916) 651-4011
Fax:  (916) 445-4722

Senator Darryl Steinberg
Phone:  (916) 651-4006
Fax:  (916) 323-2263

Other links:
Senate calendar (please note September schedule):

Bill status (please note bill has been referred to 3 committees):

Senate page (to check agenda items):

Degé Coutee
Executive & Program Director
Patient Advocacy Network