Capitol Alert

Medical marijuana bill coming down to the wire

Marijuana plants grow on the hillside property of grower Duane McCall, 62, near Willow Creek on July 29, 2015, in Mendocino County.
Marijuana plants grow on the hillside property of grower Duane McCall, 62, near Willow Creek on July 29, 2015, in Mendocino County. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

With the clock ticking down on the legislative session, the leading groups that have compromised on a bill to regulate and license medical marijuana in California are getting a bit tense about the lack of action.

In a letter to Democratic leaders on Wednesday, officials from organized labor, local government and police departments voiced their concerns over what they describe as the difficulty both legislative chambers are having in reaching a consensus on a measure, the details of which have yet to be released publicly. While they don’t give a reason for the delay, several Capitol sources in recent days have complained about internal jockeying over which legislators will claim credit

The letter comes a week after lawmakers confirmed that Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has stepped in to help meld the policies outlined in various Assembly and Senate bills, and to negotiate any lingering disagreements harbored by the authors.

“We note, respectfully, that there are no significant policy differences between the two houses of the Legislature on this issue, based on the latest versions of the language that each have produced and made available for distribution,” states the letter from the UFCW Western States Council, League of California Cities, and state Teamsters and police chiefs organizations. “The existing differences between the houses on this issue therefore appear to reside elsewhere.”

Lawmakers from both chambers say they are optimistic about a late deal, and they have a few options to deal with any pride-of-ownership issues. They could run similar or the same versions of the bill though both Houses. Or, they could divide one larger bill into two or more and assign responsibility that way.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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