California Senate votes to require licensing of medical pot shops

After years of trying, the state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would regulate the sale of medical marijuana in California, including a requirement that pot dispensaries get state licenses.

Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said something had to be done to control a business that has expanded significantly since voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996.

“Although medical marijuana is legal in California, the industry is clearly poorly regulated,” Correa said, noting his bill was requested by the League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Assn.

The measure was approved on a bipartisan vote of 31 to 0 and next goes to the Assembly for consideration.

The measure would require dispensaries to get a license from the state Department of Consumer Affairs and requires cities and counties to sign off on any license. It also calls on the department to draft guidelines to ensure that physicians are recommending marijuana after real examinations.


SB 1262 also prohibits physicians from having a financial interest in dispensaries.

Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said he was withholding his vote on the measure because he remained concerned about the state sanctioning the expansion of marijuana sales.