READ MORE >> California lawmakers are set to consider a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana sales, a change from the state’s past, but some critics worry that the change could pave the way for recreational sales.
The bill, which was introduced in February by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Assemblyman John Moorlach, D, Los Angeles, has already passed the state Senate and is headed for a vote in the Assembly.
But a similar bill has failed twice before, and the California Democratic Party is pushing for a third attempt.
The bills would make California the 19th state to allow recreational marijuana use and allow it to be sold in grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies, along with a medical marijuana market.
A recreational cannabis measure passed the California State Senate last year, but it failed to reach the Assembly, where Democrats hold a 10-seat majority.
Leno said he was hoping to get a similar measure through this session.
“This is a huge step forward,” he said in a statement.
“We’re working to get this bill to Governor Brown’s desk as soon as possible.”
Leno introduced the measure after voters approved Initiative 502 in November 2016.
The measure legalized recreational marijuana in California, but that was a long shot because of the political climate.
Voters approved recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21 in November and for adults with a doctor’s recommendation to purchase up to an ounce of pot for personal use.
A majority of voters also approved Proposition 215, which allows recreational marijuana to be grown for medical purposes and taxed.
Lenos bill also would allow adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana online and at stores with a limited number of locations.
It would allow stores to sell cannabis at $5 a gram.
The state would be the first to allow sales of recreational marijuana online.
Lenotos bill is expected to face an uphill battle in the state Assembly, as lawmakers grapple with the complexities of California’s marijuana laws.
In the past, the California legislature has been split over legalizing marijuana.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D of Fresno, who is also a Democrat, has called for a statewide ballot initiative that would allow recreational sales and has also proposed legislation that would create a legal marijuana industry.
Lara, who has been critical of the federal government for its stance on marijuana, has said that he will introduce a marijuana legalization bill in the coming months.
The Assembly is expected this year to pass a similar proposal.