It was seen as a measure of progress when the California Police Chiefs -- long one of the major roadblocks in the way of marijuana reform in the state -- decided to introduce their own medical marijuana regulations this year, after years of opposing other efforts.
At first glance, the bill introduced by state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) isn't terrible: after all, the cops are allowing people to legally access cannabis, and even want to let children get their hands on the CBD-rich pot that can stop seizures. That's nice of them.
Less nice is a provision, first noticed by LA Weekly, that the cops are also proposing what appears to be an outright ban on "butane hash oil." In other words: no hash, no concentrates, and an end to dabbing, if California cops have their way.
In many respects, it appears the Correa bill is designed to fail.
The bill puts medical cannabis under the auspices of the Department of Public Health -- a fine idea until you remember that doctors don't want to lose federal drug licenses by handing out a drug that's federally-illegal -- and also requires a pot users' primary care physician to write medical marijuana recommendations.
This is an untenable situation: while some doctor's recs are no doubt shady, there is little to no chance of doctors at, say, Kaiser Permanente writing cannabis recommendations. At risk is -- again -- the ability to write prescriptions for pharmaceuticals.
But it's the dabbing ban that is likely to cause the most consternation among medical cannabis advocates. Dabbing -- putting a small amount of super-concentrated medicine on a hot surface and gobbling the powerful plume of smoke emitted -- has made news nationwide as a new drug scourge.
That's ridiculous, but so are many defenses of the practice, which renders the dabber babblingly stoned, as a medical necessity.
We reached out to Correa's office to get a clarification on concentrates' availability under his law and will update when we hear back.
Meanwhile, pot advocates say Correa's bill won't see the light of day unless it is heavily modified.
In a statement from Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who is proposing his own set of regulations, the bill is a latecomer's attempt that would fly in the face of voter-approved Prop. 215.
"They are trying to tell doctors how to practice medicine and are also running afoul of the constitutional rules set in place by Prop. 215," he said. "We have a better way to tackle the legitimacy of medical recommendations."