California Bill to Allow Cannabis Donations to Patients Gains Ground

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On Monday, members of the California Senate’s Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee gathered to hear testimony regarding the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act, a bill that would enable specified licensees to provide free cannabis or cannabis products to patients, without being subject to state taxes.

The bill, which was vetoed last October by former Governor Jerry Brown, was re-introduced by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) in December. During yesterday’s session, the senator explained that the bill was named in honor of two activists “who were heroes in our community, in San Francisco, who were some of the progenitors of the medical cannabis movement.” He also expressed appreciation for those who traveled to Sacramento to speak in its favor.

“I just want to say thank you to all of the members of the community, including the people struggling with health conditions, who, last year, came up for every single hearing on this bill and are now doing it again,” said Wiener. “This bill should’ve been signed into law last year, but sometimes vetoes happen.”

During the six minutes allotted for public comment, no one spoke in opposition of the bill, which was publicly endorsed by the International Cannabis Farmers Association, Eaze, the Weed for Warriors Project, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the United Cannabis Business Association, among others.

“The vast reduction of safe access points or retail entities allowed to provide cannabis to patients has unfortunately created a crisis amongst patients in the state,” according to Kristin Nevedal, who chairs the International Cannabis Farmers Association and is a member of the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s Advisory Committee.

“Over the past year,” she added, the Committee has “heard repeat testimony from patients and veterans and compassion groups about their inability to serve the needs of patients.”

The bill now makes its way to the Appropriations Committee, but it still has a long way to go before it can become a law.

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