It’s the New Year. 2016! The year California is supposed to legalize cannabis! It’s also the year new medical marijuana law – MMRSA – goes into effect. Here at HU, several of us need to renew our Prop 215 recommendation, which got us thinking… We’ve spent so much time researching the way MMRSA affects cultivation that we paved over what these new laws mean to safe access. Basically, is it more difficult to obtain our recommendation this year?
To answer this question we decided to call a few local clinics and wellness centers. We simply asked if we needed “to fulfill any additional obligations in order to renew our 215 recommendation this year?” The unanimous answer was “no,” at least “not yet”… Beyond bringing documented proof of our condition (cannabis aides in many ways, from pain to anxiety to appetite) not much has changed.
MMRSA has constricted the status quo for recommending cannabis in California but much of the onus is on doctors who recommend the plant.
If you read the language within MMRSA, alarm bells begin to go off. The new law states that recommending cannabis shall be the sole duty of an “attending physician.” But after consultation with legal professionals, this language does nothing more than reassert SB420, which has been the de facto law over the last several years – essentially preserving the status quo for patients.
In fact the enforcement agency – Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR) – is yet to be created. When they do come on line, they will enforce “repeated acts recommending without a good faith prior exam.” That’s a long way of saying: a patient needs to be examined prior to being recommended cannabis – the aim is minimize 18-year-old kids from acquiring a recommendation via an app etc. The new law also bans doctors, employed by cannabis dispensaries, from recommending cannabis. This eliminates the one-stop-shop clinic and collective.
Don’t get too comfortable though… Once BMMR is created they’re tasked with working with the University of San Diego based California Center for Cannabis Research (CCCR) in order to set standards for recommending the plant and who knows what they’ll come up with. Yet, by the time BMMR consults CCCR and sets guidelines, weed will probably be legal in California.