The first bill to reach California Governor Jerry Brown’s desk this year will make changes to last year’s sweeping medical marijuana regulation.
The state Assembly agreed to the measure Thursday without opposition.
Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood says the bill removes a March 1 deadline that has local governments rushing to come up with their own new rules for farms and dispensaries.
"It was essentially a drafting error, so in some local jurisdictions, they are moving toward straight bans of all medical marijuana activities." Wood said. "This is impacting patients’ access to medical marijuana, as well as primary caregivers."
The bill would also prevent local governments from banning some patients from growing their own cannabis at home.
Another measure that allows marijuana dispensaries to pay their state tax bills in cash also passed to the Senate. Most banks do not accept their business.
The Assembly also passed bills that would address the cost of diapers.
Lawmakers of both parties lamented the high price of the essential children’s product.
Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gipson recalled his experience growing up in Watts.
"We used to have to go next door and get Pampers," Gipson said. "Until someone got paid in order to buy Pampers, and that was a consistent thing going on in my community."
One bill would exempt diapers from California sales tax, costing state and local governments $36 million a year. The measure passed without opposition.
The other bill would give families receiving state welfare payments $50 a month for diapers, for each child under two-years-old. That would cost $16 million a year. The measure passed by a vote of 64-to-9.
Both bills now move on to the Senate.
A measure that would require greater disclosure of cleaning product ingredients also made it through the Assembly, but in substantially different form.
The bill would have required companies to list the ingredients of cleaning products on their labels and in order of amount. The author, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, asked Wednesday to remove that requirement. Instead, as passed by the Assembly, the bill requires companies to list ingredients on their web sites and provide the link on the product label.
GAS LEAK MORATORIUM
Meanwhile, a moratorium on gas injections at the leaking storage facility in Southern California sped through the state Senate, although, functionally, it will have little immediate effect.
Southern California Gas Company stopped pumping more fuel into its Aliso Canyon storage facility after discovering a leak at one well in October. State oil and gas regulators made it an official moratorium last month.
Earlier this month Governor Jerry Brown issued an emergency declaration that keeps the moratorium in place until independent experts say otherwise.
The Senate bill, authored by Democratic Senator Fran Pavley, locks the moratorium into law, although only at the 18 oldest of the site’s 115 wells.
"Until we can assure that those wells can handle that increased pressure, we can’t refill that reservoir," Pavley said. "They have to be inspected."
The moratorium passed unanimously and now goes to the Assembly. Lawmakers plan to consider other bills this year that would add safety equipment and inspections to storage wells throughout California.
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