AUGUST 2021 - Capitol Corner
AB 45 (Aguiar-Curry) - This bill would require a manufacturer of dietary supplements and food that includes industrial hemp to be able to demonstrate that all parts of the plant used come from a state or country that has an established and approved industrial hemp program, as defined, that inspects or regulates hemp under a food safety program or equivalent criteria to ensure safety for human or animal consumption and that the industrial hemp cultivator or grower is in good standing and compliance with the governing laws of the state or country of origin.
AB 1138 (Blanca Rubio) - Would impose a civil penalty on persons aiding and abetting unlicensed commercial cannabis activity of up to 3 times the amount of the license fee for each violation, but in no case more than $30,000 for each violation. The bill would prohibit filing an action for civil penalties brought against a person pursuant to MAUCRSA 3 years after the first date of discovery of the violation.
AB 1222 (Chen) - The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), an initiative measure approved as Proposition 64 at the November 8, 2016, statewide general election, authorizes a person who obtains a state license under AUMA to engage in commercial adult-use cannabis activity pursuant to that license and applicable local ordinances. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activities, including retail commercial cannabis activity. Current law places specified requirements on the packaging of cannabis and cannabis products, including requiring that the cannabis and cannabis products be placed in a resealable, tamper-evident, child-resistant package. This bill would authorize cannabis beverages to be packaged in glass containers that are clear or any color.
AB 1302 (Quirk) - Current law prohibits a licensee, under the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 (AUMA), from advertising or marketing on a billboard or similar advertising device located on an Interstate Highway or on a State Highway which crosses the California border. This bill, instead, would prohibit a licensee from advertising or marketing on a billboard or similar advertising device located within a 15-mile radius of the California border on an Interstate Highway or on a State Highway which crosses the California border. This bill would declare that its provisions further the purposes and intent of AUMA.
AB 1305 (Lackey) - Would exempt from MAUCRSA activity performed pursuant to that DEA registration if the person engaging in the activity provides the licensing authority valid documentation of their registration with DEA and the location where the activity will be performed prior to engaging in the activity.
SB 292 (Wilk) - Current law requires specified registrants that grow industrial hemp, before the harvest of each crop, to obtain a laboratory test report indicating the THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) levels of a random sampling of the industrial hemp, and requires that sampling to occur no more than 30 days before harvest. Current law requires a registrant that grows industrial hemp to destroy the industrial hemp grown upon receipt of a laboratory test report indicating a percentage concentration of THC that exceeds a specified level. Unless otherwise provided, a violation of these provisions is a crime. This bill would instead require the sampling to occur within a timeframe determined by the Department of Food and Agriculture.
SB 311 (Hueso) - Current law, known as the Medical Marijuana Program, requires counties to administer an identification card program for qualified patients and provides immunity from arrest to qualified patients with a valid identification card or designated primary caregivers, within prescribed limits. This bill, the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law, would prohibit specified types of health care facilities from prohibiting or interfering with a terminally ill patient’s use of medicinal cannabis within the health care facility, subject to certain restrictions. The bill would require a patient to provide the health care facility with a copy of their medical marijuana card or written documentation that the use of medicinal cannabis is recommended by a physician.
SB 544 (Laird) - The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), authorizes the Legislature to amend by majority vote certain provisions of the act to implement specified substantive provisions, provided that the amendments are consistent with and further the purposes and intent of AUMA. This bill would implement the above provisions of AUMA by requiring the Department of Cannabis Control, on or before January 1, 2023, to establish a standardized cannabinoids test method to be used by all testing laboratories.
Supreme Court Rules Against Marijuana in Prisons
The California Supreme Court has overturned a lower court decision allowing California prisoners to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
The case stemmed from the arrest of five inmates who were discovered to have marijuana in their jail cells. The 3rd District Court of Appeal overturned their convictions in 2019. While state law prohibits cannabis use in prison, the appellate court said there is no statute banning possession. The court pointed to the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, which it said legalized possession of cannabis for all Californians, including those serving time.
The Supreme Court rejected that argument 5-2.
“While perhaps not illogical to distinguish between the possession and use of cannabis, it is nonetheless difficult to understand why the electorate would want to preclude laws criminalizing cannabis possession in prison, but permit laws criminalizing cannabis consumption in prison,” Associate Justice Joshua Groban wrote for the majority.
Groban called it “implausible” that voters intended to legalize cannabis possession in prisons when they approved the measure. Those who crafted the law likely had no such intention either.
“We agree with the Attorney General that if the drafters had intended to so dramatically change the laws regarding cannabis in prison, we would expect them to have been more explicit about their goals,” he wrote.
Source: CA Marijuana Policy Report
More Cities and Counties Embrace Cannabis
Over 30 jurisdictions in California embraced commercial marijuana during the November 2020 election. The loss of sales tax revenue during the pandemic led even more jurisdictions to consider reversing their stance on the plant.
Since November, 18 cities have started issuing retail permits, consultant Hirsh Jain — who tracks licensing — tells Marijuana Business Daily. Another 18 jurisdictions or more are prepared to do so soon.
Retail licenses are pending in Red Bluff; Chico; Grass Valley; Vacaville; Fairfield; Sonora; Daly City; Redwood City; Madera; Fresno; Tulare; Guadalupe; Ventura; Corona; Stanton; Hemet; Costa Mesa; and National City. Many more are expected in the coming years.
As of July, 182 cities and 31 counties had legalized some form of commercial cannabis activity (114 of those only allow marijuana retailers). That’s a 40% increase in the number of jurisdictions legalizing commercial pot since 2019.
“These city council members are basically saying, ‘People are driving into neighboring cities, and we’re not getting that tax revenue,’ and you’re seeing an instinctive, ‘We don’t want to lose taxes to other cities,’” said Jain.
We’re nowhere near the end-game. There should be around 4,000 to 5,000 legal dispensaries statewide, according to Jain. Currently there are just 745.
“The California market is at a fraction of its long-term potential,” he said, “and it will be a three- or four-year process for it to realize its potential.”