BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        SB 439|
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                                    THIRD READING

          Bill No:  SB 439
          Author:   Steinberg (D) and Leno (D)
          Amended:  4/1/13
          Vote:     21

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 4/30/13
          AYES:  Hancock, Block, De León, Liu, Steinberg
          NOES:  Anderson, Knight

           SUBJECT  :    Medical marijuana

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    This bill provides that a cooperative, collective or  
          other business entity that operates within the Attorney  
          General's "Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of  
          Marijuana Grown for Medical Use" (guidelines) will not be  
          subject to prosecution for marijuana possession or commerce, as  

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1.The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, includes the following  

             A.   To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right  
               to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where such  
               use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a  


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               physician for treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic  
               pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any  
               other illness for which marijuana provides relief.

             B.   To ensure that patients and primary caregivers who  
               obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the  
               recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal  

             C.   To encourage the federal and state governments to  
               implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable  
               distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need  
               of marijuana. 

          1.The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, also provides:

             A.   The act shall not be construed to supersede legislation  
               prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers  
               others, or to condone the diversion of marijuana for  
               non-medical purposes. 

             B.   No physician in California shall be punished or denied  
               any right or privilege for recommending medical marijuana  
               to a patient.

             C.   Penal laws relating to the possession of marijuana and  
               the cultivation of marijuana shall not apply to a patient,  
               or to a patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or  
               cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of  
               the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or  
               approval of a physician.

          1.Provides that qualified patients, persons with valid  
            identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of  
            qualified patients and persons with identification cards, who  
            associate within the State of California in order collectively  
            or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes,  
            shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state  
            criminal sanctions under existing law.

          2.Directs the Attorney General to develop and adopt appropriate  
            guidelines to ensure the security and nondiversion of medical  
            marijuana.  Section IV of the guidelines concern collectives  
            and cooperatives.


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          3.Prohibits any medical marijuana cooperative, collective,  
            dispensary, operator, establishment, or provider who possess,  
            cultivates, or distributes medical marijuana, as specified,  
            from being located within 600 feet of a school.  There are  
            specified exceptions for medical or elder care facilities,  
            local ordinances adopted prior to enactment of the state  
            standard and for later adopted ordinances that are more  
            restrictive than state law. 

          4.Allows cities or other local governing bodies to adopt and  
            enforce local ordinances that regulate the location,  
            operation, or establishment of a medical marijuana cooperative  
            or collective, as follows:

             A.   A local government entity may enforce a medical  
               marijuana ordinance through civil or criminal remedies and  

             B.   A local government entity may enact other laws  
               consistent with the Medical Marijuana Program, as  

          This bill provides that for any medical marijuana collective,  
          cooperative, or other business entities that comply with medical  
          marijuana guidelines published by the Attorney General, the  
          following shall apply:

          1.The cooperative, collective or businesses entity, and the  
            employees, officers and members thereof shall be exempt from  
            criminal prosecution and nuisance abatement actions, as  

          2.The fact that a cooperative, collective or businesses entity,  
            including an employee, officer or member thereof, receives  
            compensation for actual expenses for activities carried out  
            within the guidelines published by the Attorney General shall  
            not be subject to prosecution under Health and Safety Code  
            Sections 11359 and 11360, relating to possessing, transporting  
            or furnishing marijuana.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  


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           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/3/13)

          American Civil Liberties Union
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          California Norml
          Drug Policy Alliance
          Marijuana Policy Project
          Mayor of Sacramento
          Mayor of San Diego

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  5/3/13)

          California Narcotics Officers' Association
          California Police Chiefs Association
          International Faith Based Coalition

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author:

               The legality of medical marijuana collectives,  
               cooperatives, and other related business entities is  
               ambiguous under current state law, resulting in needless  
               arrests and prosecutions.  Local governments have banned  
               collectives and cooperatives, rather than adopting  
               reasonable regulations to protect public safety, prevent  
               neighborhood nuisances, and provide for safe access for  
               qualified patients and their primary caregivers.

               Senate Bill 493 clarifies the legality of medical marijuana  
               collectives, cooperatives, and other business entities that  
               are organized and operated in compliance with the 2008  
               Attorney General "Guidelines for the Security and  
               Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use."   
               Specifically, the bill provides that a cooperative,  
               collective or other entity that operates within the  
               Attorney General's guidelines shall not be subject to  
               prosecution for marijuana possession or commerce.  Further,  
               the entity and its employees, officers and members shall  
               not be subject to prosecution because the entity or its  
               employees, officers, or members received compensation for  
               actual expenses incurred in carrying out activities in  
               compliance with the guidelines.

               SB 439 provides a focused solution that clarifies state  
               law.  This simple fix is compatible with, and may be  


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               enacted independently of, any other legislation that may  
               provide a more comprehensive solution to state medical  
               marijuana issues.  While it is beyond our reach to resolve  
               the conflict between federal and state law, we are still  
               responsible for resolving existing ambiguities in state law  
               that are within our power to fix.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    The California Narcotic Officers  
          Association and the California Police Chiefs Association state  
          that this bill "will expand the distribution of what is  
          classified under Proposition 215 as medical marijuana in  
          California.  Proposition 215 is very clear that marijuana may be  
          cultivated or provided by qualified patients, or by caregivers.   
          Proposition 215 did not authorize cultivation or distribution of  
          marijuana by any other entities.

          "Senate Bill 439 dramatically changes that state of affairs by  
          evidently permitting 'collectives, or cooperatives,' which SB  
          439 permits to be 'organized as any statutory business entity  
          permitted under California law' to engage in cultivation or  
          distribution of so-called medical marijuana.  The broad  
          reference in Senate Bill 439 to 'any statutory business entity'  
          carries with it the implication that medical marijuana may be  
          cultivated and distributed for profit.  This is a major  
          expansion of Proposition 215 that is inconsistent with that  
          original measure.  In addition, state legislation permitting the  
          sale of marijuana is in direct violation of federal law.

          "The public safety consequences of permitting entire new classes  
          of businesses to engage in medical marijuana sales - for profit  
          - are serious.  Currently medical marijuana dispensaries are a  
          blight on neighborhoods and have been magnets for criminal  
          activity.  Law enforcement, with the assistance of the US  
          Attorneys, has been successful in closing these dispensaries,  
          but Senate Bill 439 would be aimed at giving legitimacy to these  

          JG:nl  5/3/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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