Bill regulating state's medical marijuana industry delayed

  • Assemblyman Tom Ammiano,D-San Francisco, smiles as his bill aimed at providing a framework for overseeing and regulating California's medical marijuana industry, was approved by the Assembly in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The measure AB2312, modeled after a ballot initiative that medical marijuana advocates crafted after the four federal prosecutors based in California launched a crackdown on dispensaries and growers, passed with the minimum number of 41 votes and sent to the Senate. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SAN FRANCISCO — California's medical marijuana industry and critics who contend it has become a cover for illegal drug dealing will have to wait at least another year for the state to set up a system for licensing and regulating pot shops and growers.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano on Monday pulled his bill that would have established an appointed board to vet and oversee medical marijuana businesses. The delay will allow a Senate committee that deals with professional licenses to do research and hold a public hearing on the issue while preventing the measure from being killed.

AB2312 narrowly passed the Assembly last month, but Ammiano said it was unlikely the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development would have endorsed it or that Gov. Jerry Brown would have signed the legislation if it made it out of the Legislature.

Instead, he and committee chairman Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angrles, agreed to give senators time to evaluate and possibly amend Ammiano's proposal once the current legislative session ends. The San Francisco Democrat says he hopes to introduce a reworked version of the bill next year.

"I want the votes and I want the governor to sign this thing," he said. "It's still in play. We have some success under our belt and the best thing is the committee itself will now partner with me, they will help shepherd this."

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