Pubdate: Tue, 22 Apr 2014
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2014 Los Angeles Times
Author: Patrick McGreevy
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Page: AA3


SACRAMENTO - Medical marijuana dispensaries in California would need 
state Public Health Department licenses and doctors who recommend pot 
would face new standards for examining patients under legislation 
advanced Monday by a state Senate panel.

The measure, supported by members of the Senate Business, Professions 
and Economic Development Committee, also clarifies the authority of 
cities and counties to prohibit pot shops within their borders.

Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said his bill was aimed at practices 
such as one in the Sacramento area, where patients have been issued 
medical marijuana cards after a few minutes of talking to a doctor 
via Skype and with no physical exam.

"The implementation of medical marijuana laws has been marked by 
conflicting authorities, regulatory uncertainty, intermittent federal 
enforcement action and many, many lawsuits," Correa told the panel.

California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996. Correa's bill 
would require dispensaries and cultivation sites to be licensed by 
the state Department of Public Health. It would also require that 
physicians who recommend marijuana for patients first conduct an 
"appropriate examination" and then periodically review the 
treatment's efficacy, discuss side effects with patients and maintain 
records. For patients under age 21, a pediatrician would have to make 
the recommendation and the delivery method would be non-smoking.

The bill is sponsored by the California Police Chiefs Assn. and the 
League of California Cities and supported by officers associations 
from Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana.

"It is not medicine for doctors to show up at concerts to give 
recommendation cards to anyone willing to spend the cash," said 
Citrus Heights Police Chief Christopher W. Boyd, president of the 
chiefs' group.

The California Medical Assn. opposes the bill as an interference in 
the practice of medicine. The group is against a requirement that 
doctors recommend the type and strength of marijuana used, which 
could subject physicians to federal enforcement action.

Dale Gieringer, director of the California National Organization for 
the Reform of Marijuana Laws, objected to the bill, saying that it 
interfered with medical practices and that to require pediatricians 
to be involved when patients are age 18 to 20 is unreasonable.
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