California Senator Introduces Legislation to Bar Municipalities from Prohibiting Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Within Their Jurisdictions
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California Senator Introduces Legislation to Bar Municipalities from Prohibiting Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Within Their Jurisdictions

Senate Bill 1186, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, would require all cities and counties to provide consumers access to medical cannabis dispensaries.

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March 14, 2022

California Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is looking to restore voter-approved access to medical cannabis with new legislation, according to the Los Angeles Blade.

Senate Bill 1186 would require all cities and counties to allow licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, licensed medical cannabis deliveries, or both, the news outlet reported. The legislation allows cities to choose which form of medical cannabis businesses they allow, but they must allow at least one type.

S.B. 1186 aims to prevent Proposition 215, California’s Compassionate Use Act that voters approved in 1996 to legalize medical cannabis, from being undermined by local jurisdictions that have blocked access to medical cannabis by banning both dispensaries and delivery services.

Proposition 64, which voters passed in 2016 to legalize adult-use cannabis, granted California’s municipalities the authority to ban adult-use businesses within their jurisdictions, but did not give cities and counties local control over medical cannabis businesses.

The California Legislature, however, later gave municipalities the ability to prohibit medical cannabis operations through the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). Since then, nearly two-thirds of the state’s cities have banned both medical and adult-use businesses, the Los Angeles Blade reported.

S.B. 1186 does not take local control of adult-use cannabis businesses away from California’s municipalities, according to the news outlet, but prevents them from prohibiting all types of medical cannabis retail.

“So many vulnerable Californians rely on medicinal cannabis,” Wiener told the Los Angeles Blade. “Particularly for rural Californians, the lack of local medicinal cannabis can be difficult to overcome. The voters decided that every Californian should have access to medical cannabis, and local jurisdictions should not be able to undermine the will of the people by banning businesses and nonprofits from providing this medicine. We must ensure that anyone who needs medical cannabis can access this very important and even life-saving medicine."