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California Lawmakers Look To Close Proposition 64 Loopholes

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The regulations are ramping up when it comes to recreational marijuana in California.

The cannabis industry, which is largely self-regulated, is slowly becoming more restrictive. Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) introduced a bill that would place far more child protections on future recreational marijuana businesses.

"I do think that all of the regulations are a bit excessive," said Kimberly Cargile speaking broadly about all the regulations on the marijuana industry.

Cargile is the director of a medical marijuana dispensary. She will soon enter the recreational or adult-use business when permits are accepted in 2018.

While she understands the need for state regulations, she says they can hinder business.

"It does seem quite unnecessary, however, there needs to be high regulation to make sure these businesses are not selling to people under 21," explained Cargile.

"Most people in most communities want to see a safe, regulated product," said Gray.

His bill aims to close many gaps in Prop 64, which made the adult use of marijuana legal.

"It was a glaring omission that we don't have these protections in place," said Gray.

Currently, under Prop 64 there are four regulations for people under 21:

  • They can't purchase cannabis products.
  • They're not allowed on the property.
  • They can't be employed by a cannabis business.
  • and they can't handle any marijuana products.

"We know how to regulate alcohol. We know how to regulate tobacco. We need to extend those same protections for minors in the area of marijuana," said Gray.

His proposal, AB 729, would:

  • keep marijuana out of vending machines
  • allow police access for inspections or sting operations.
  • require signage to keep people under 21 out of retail storefronts
  • and force marijuana businesses to be 600 feet from playgrounds, hospitals, and churches

"When you pick up the protecting minors section and there are only four things, there is a lot of work that needs to be done," said Gray holding one sheet of paper. Meanwhile, there are dozens of pages and an entire book on tobacco and alcohol regulations.

But not all of the rules are being well received.

"The more restrictions placed on zoning, the further out these businesses are," said Cargile, "it's extremely difficult for the consumers, for the patients, for the businesses."

The child protections are only the beginning. AB 1143, which is also authored by Gray aims to bring marijuana billboard advertising more in line with rules surrounding alcohol and tobacco.

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