by David Downs
California continues to sail into uncharted territory this week.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 1894 — which would regulate and tax California’s $2 billion medical cannabis industry — could get a floor vote in the Assembly later this month.
New legislative analysis of AB 1894 estimates the cost for a California Division of Medical Marijuana Regulation and Enforcement within the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control at $15 million per year, or roughly 25 percent of the existing ABC budget.
“The costs of creating and maintaining the division ... would require significant application fees and fines. For purpose of illustration, the average fee to cover the cost of a $15 million entity, if there were 1,500 annual applications, would be about $10,000 per application,” the Assembly Appropriations committee analysis finds.
"Will there be 1,500 stores in California willing to pay $10K each year?" the analysis asks.
The analysis also predicts a "moderate" annual local tax revenue increase of about $13 million per year.
Opposition “is primarily from law enforcement,” led by the CA Narcotic Officers' Association. Which seems odd, because that means the CNOA (cops) are opposed to the ABC (cops) getting marijuana enforcement. Could this be a turf thing?
"AB 1894 contemplates vesting jurisdiction over commercial medical marijuana in the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. There is no little irony in the selection of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as the administering agency for the medical marijuana trade. We know of no other area of law where an agency charged with regulating recreational substances such as alcohol is also given portfolio over matters which are alleged to be medical."
If the narcs hate it, and the "free weed" crowd hates it, maybe it can’t be all that bad.
Meanwhile, state Senator Lou Correa’s SB 1262 - a similar medical marijuana regulation bill - goes to Senate Appropriations on Monday; a necessary step to a Senate floor vote. Both bills have to clear their house of origin by the end of May.