As it stands now, the bill creates a four-year pilot program would allow qualified patients and primary caregivers to purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from a state-regulated medical marijuana center.
Centers would be taxed at about 7 percent per ounce sold, and the money raised would go to paying for the medical marijuana system. In all, there could be as many as 60 dispensaries in the state.
Earlier versions of the bill had allowed for home cultivation, but those provisions were struck down before the bill moved out of the House.
"We applaud the committee members for supporting safe access to medical marijuana for patients suffering from debilitating conditions," said Dan Riffle, deputy director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a press release. "We hope their colleagues will agree that seriously ill people who benefit from medical marijuana should not have to risk being arrested and prosecuted."
Cops say the bill would create a "public safety nightmare" of stoned drivers on the road. Clearly they don't look at data showing that isn't the case in medical marijuana states. At the least, they say, the bill should include provisions for blood and pee tests to see if patients were high at the time cops stopped them.
The bill will next see action on May 14, when it will be debated by the Senate. If passed, the bill would go on to the governor for signing - something he has indicated he will do, or is at least open to considering.