California Forum

Potency in pot will be regulated under new medical cannabis law

Marijuana is prepared before being tested for potency.
Marijuana is prepared before being tested for potency. Yakima Herald-Republic

Sam Quinones makes an impassioned plea for state regulation of legal cannabis potency levels to safeguard children and to protect responsible adult cannabis users in his story, “Regulate potency in pot before legalizing it” (Forum, Aug. 21).

I agree, and it is exactly why I, along with a bipartisan coalition of legislators, authored the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year and provides California’s first comprehensive regulations for medical cannabis to protect patients, promote public safety and preserve the environment.

Under this legislation, California regulators, including the new Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and the Department of Public Health, will require full disclosure of medical cannabis potency and have the authority to impose scientifically appropriate limits on the potency levels of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products.

It is also one reason why I support Proposition 64, which creates a safe and legal regulatory framework for nonmedical cannabis and is directly modeled after the medical cannabis safety law – and which provides maximum authority for public health and regulatory officials to govern the safety and potency of cannabis.

Make no mistake: Under Prop. 64, regulators will have the power to impose rigorous conditions on growers and manufacturers of adult use cannabis and cannabis products, and enforce limits on their potency. In addition, all cannabis and cannabis products must be tested by independent laboratories before they are available for purchase, and will include labels clearly stating the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and other cannabinoids.

The regulations in Prop. 64 will allow adult use of cannabis to be regulated like alcohol.

Just as labeling allows consumers to know the difference in potency between a wine cooler and whiskey, the regulations in Prop. 64 will allow for clear potency limits and labels on cannabis products.

Today’s cannabis is more potent than it was a generation ago. As Quinones states, these new stronger strains emerged precisely because cannabis is unregulated. The solution is not to sit back and hope that the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry will govern itself.

It’s time to end the failed and costly system of cannabis prohibition and empower state regulators and public health officials to develop transparent, enforceable regulations that will keep consumers and communities safe.

Taken together, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and Proposition 64 will bring comprehensive oversight and clear regulations to a broken system.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, represents District 18. info@robbonta.com

  Comments