California Assembly approves oversight of medical marijuana

New rules call for 1 dispenary for every 50,000 residents

SACRAMENTO - The California Assembly has approved a bill aimed at providing oversight of the state's notoriously free-wheeling medical marijuana industry.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's AB2312 would require marijuana dispensaries, growers, delivery services and manufacturers of pot products to register with the state and be overseen by a nine-member board.

It also would compel cities and counties to authorize one dispensary for every 50,000 residents unless local officials or voters approve a ban on pot shops. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Before the measure passed the Assembly on Thursday with the minimum number of 41 votes, several opponents said they don't believe marijuana has legitimate medical uses.

Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, accused his colleagues of being out of touch with the views of Californians, an overwhelmingly majority of whom support making medical marijuana available with adequate controls.

The fight over medical marijuana is nothing new to the Coachella Valley.

Palm Springs already has laws in place regulating the medical marijuana storefronts that cater to patients who say they need it.

Rancho Mirage was recently ordered by the Riverside County courts to stop its blockade against a medical marijuana cooperative that wanted to open up a store in a strip mall.

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