June 26, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Licensing & Regulatory Issues Public Health
In 2015, the legislature passed and the governor signed into law a series of bills to create a licensing and regulatory framework for medical cannabis. The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have issued proposed regulations as they begin to construct the medical cannabis regulatory system.
The California Medical Association (CMA) submitted written comments on the proposed medical cannabis regulations, which will affect medical cannabis dispensaries, manufacturers, distributors and transporters.
While California became the first state to decriminalize the cultivation and use of medical cannabis back in 1996, there has been very little regulation, in part due to its current federal illegality. As it stands, the present system of medical cannabis is detached from public safety oversight, and a new approach to regulation, research and enforcement is needed to protect public health and patients.
CMA supports a state framework with robust regulations, strong patient safety and quality standards, and legally-sanctioned medical research into the potential benefits and risks of medical cannabis. In order to devise such a framework, CMA believes that great weight and consideration should be paid to protecting public health and adopting a strict approach to the regulation of the medical cannabis system.
A strong regulatory system that standardizes and regulates medical cannabis is even more needed with the recent legalization of the recreational adult use of cannabis.
As an organization, CMA has developed extensive policy, through the deliberation of our diverse physician membership, regarding medical and recreational cannabis. CMA recently adopted policy that supports a tightly restricted regulatory system with recommendations that include advertising and marketing restrictions, monitoring and enforcement of industry practices, warning labels, and a strong data collection system to evaluate the consequences of use in an ongoing capacity. CMA believes that the proposed regulations are a good start in achieving these goals, and has offered some suggestions to ensure that California has a strong regulatory system for cannabis that prioritizes public health and takes into consideration the needs of our diverse state.
Click here to read CMA's comments on the proposed regulations.