BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING


          AB  
          26 (Jones-Sawyer)


          As Amended  January 25, 2016


          Majority vote


           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Business &      |13-0 |Bonilla, Baker,       |Chang, Brough,      |
          |Professions     |     |Bloom, Campos, Chang, |Jones, Waldron      |
          |                |     |Dodd, Eggman, Gatto,  |                    |
          |                |     |Holden, Mullin, Ting, |                    |
          |                |     |Wilk, Wood            |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Appropriations  |13-0 |Gomez, Bloom,         |                    |
          |                |     |Bonilla, Bonta,       |                    |
          |                |     |Calderon, Chang,      |                    |
          |                |     |Daly, Eggman, Eduardo |                    |
          |                |     |Garcia, Holden,       |                    |
          |                |     |Quirk, Weber, Wood    |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 


          SUMMARY:  Requires a licensee under the Medical Marijuana  
          Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) to institute and maintain a  








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          training program to educate, inform, and train the licensee's  
          agents and employees regarding compliance with the MMRSA, and  
          requires the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (Bureau) to  
          approve and regulate the training programs.  Specifically, this  
          bill:
          1)Requires a licensee to institute and maintain a training  
            program to educate, inform, and train the licensee's agents  
            and employees regarding compliance with the MMRSA. 
          2)Requires the Bureau to adopt standards for the approval of  
            training programs and to be the sole state agency responsible  
            for approving and regulating the training programs.


          3)Prohibits the Bureau from approving a training program  
            provided or proposed to be provided by or through an  
            apprenticeship program approved by the Chief of the Division  
            of Apprenticeship Standards. 


          4)Requires an application for state licensure to include a  
            detailed description of the applicant's training program.


          5)Requires a state licensing authority to deny the application  
            of an applicant that does not have or revoke the license of a  
            state licensee that fails to institute or maintain a program  
            approved by the licensing authority.


          6)Requires the state licensing authority to charge each training  
            program a fee to cover costs incurred for approving the  
            training program, but limits the total fees to no more than  
            reasonable regulatory costs for the approval.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, this estimate is subject to significant uncertainty,  
          as the number of licensees, the number of training programs, the  
          complexity of the training, and numerous operational decisions  








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          are all unknown at this time.  Staff estimates California  
          Department of Public Health (CDPH), California Department of  
          Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and the Bureau may incur the  
          following total costs (funded through an already authorized  
          General Fund (GF) loan to the Medical Marijuana Regulation and  
          Safety Act Fund, paid back through training program approval fee  
          revenue):  


          1)Developing training program standards, and developing  
            processes for application and review of training programs,  
            would likely result in contract or staff costs in the hundreds  
            of thousands of dollars.  


          2)Costs for initial verification of training programs could  
            range from minor to significant, depending on how many  
            training programs apply for approval.  


          3)Unknown costs to verify licensees are implementing training  
            programs in.  If on-site visits are required, costs could be  
            significant.  Any ongoing costs for this activity will be  
            recovered through training approval fees.   


          COMMENTS:


          Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by the United Food and  
            Commercial Workers Union, Western States Council (UFCW).   
            According to the author, "It is essential that everyone  
            working in the medical marijuana industry be trained.  Whether  
            they are working with patients in a dispensary, cultivating at  
            farms or assisting in the manufacture and processing of  
            products for consumption, they must be given training.  These  
            workers, patients and the public need to know that those in  
            the medical marijuana industry are educated in the health,  
            safety and security standards set by the state." 








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          The MMRSA.  The MMRSA consisted of three separate bills which  
            were enacted together on Sept 11, 2015, to bring licensure and  
            regulation to the medical marijuana industry nearly 20 years  
            after the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, which legalized  
            the use of medical marijuana.  The bills created a  
            comprehensive state licensing system for the commercial  
            cultivation, manufacture, retail sale, transport,  
            distribution, delivery, and testing of medical cannabis.  In  
            addition, the bills affirm local control and require licensure  
            by both a local government and the state in order for a  
            licensee to operate.  The MMRSA went into effect on January 1,  
            2016, although licensure requirements will not go into effect  
            until the regulatory entities responsible for implementing the  
            act pass necessary regulations. 


          Among other things, the MMRSA establishes the new Bureau under  
            the Department of Consumer Affairs, which is responsible for  
            licensing and regulating dispensaries, transporters, and  
            distributors.  In addition, the CDPH is responsible for  
            regulating manufacturers, testing laboratories, and the  
            production and labeling of edible medical marijuana products.   
            The CDFA is responsible for regulating cultivation, and other  
            state agencies, such as the Department of Pesticide Regulation  
            and the State Water Resources Control Board, are responsible  
            for developing environmental standards.  


          Under the MMRSA, applicants seeking licensure to cultivate,  
            distribute, or manufacture medical cannabis are required to  
            include a detailed description of the applicant's operating  
            procedures for cultivation, extraction and infusion methods,  
            transportation process, inventory procedures, and quality  
            control procedures.  This bill would additionally require all  
            applicants, including dispensaries and testing laboratories,  
            to include a detailed description of a training program for  
            its agents and employees, to be approved by the Bureau, as a  








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            condition of licensure.  Under the bill, the licensee would  
            institute and maintain the training program for its agents and  
            employees on compliance with the MMRSA.  The training program  
            must also include training on legal requirements, best  
            industry practices, occupational health and safety standards,  
            and company policies.  The Bureau would be required to adopt  
            standards to approve these training programs, and to regulate  
            these training programs. 


          Medical Marijuana Training and Education.  Currently, there is a  
            small offering of voluntary education and training for persons  
            in the medical marijuana industry, ranging from schools that  
            provide a complete curriculum and certification program on  
            cannabis, to individual seminars and courses about the  
            industry.  However, because this industry has not previously  
            been regulated, there are no statewide standards for what this  
            type of training should include. 


          While this bill would impose mandatory training for a licensee's  
            employees and agents, at least one state, Colorado, has  
            adopted a similar albeit voluntary approach to training.   
            Under Colorado's Responsible Vendor Training Program, a  
            licensee may receive a responsible vendor designation if all  
            of its employees who sell or handle medical marijuana,  
            managers, and resident owners complete a medical marijuana  
            training program offered by a state approved provider.  While  
            the program is voluntary, the benefit of such designation is  
            that if a local or state licensing authority initiates an  
            administrative action against a designated licensee, the  
            licensing authority may consider the designation as a  
            mitigating factor when imposing sanctions or penalties on the  
            licensee.  The training programs are required to be at least  
            two hours long, and must have a core curriculum of relevant  
            statutory and regulatory requirements, including information  
            on proper identification of patients, age requirements, record  
            maintenance, liability, and enforcement.  The training is also  
            required to include information about marijuana's effects on  








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            the human body based on type of marijuana product, the amount  
            of time to feel impairment, and health and safety standards.   
            Currently, Colorado has four state approved responsible vendor  
            training programs, with training programs costing roughly $150  
            per person per course.


          Analysis Prepared by:                        Gabby Nepomuceno /  
          B. & P. / (916) 319-3301                           FN: 0002590