JULY 2020 - Capitol Corner

New Budget Boosts Cannabis Enforcement Officers 

As part of the recent budget deal, Governor Newsom signed a trailer bill funding a substantial increase in the state’s enforcement officers targeting cannabis.  In all, a consolidated force of about 90 people will be tasked with uprooting California’s illegal cannabis market.

The state wants the cops to investigate unlicensed and criminal cannabis activity and conduct activities that require a peace officer’s authority, according to a budget request document submitted by the BCC.

Of that number, more than half already work as sworn officers and managers for the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation Cannabis Enforcement Unit. The rest account for open positions, including about 30 jobs for special investigators that will be reclassified for sworn law enforcement officers.

Newsom’s administration insists the intent of the bill isn’t to turn non-sworn investigators into sworn officers. Rather, the language of it was necessary because the BCC didn’t have any officers on staff and needed the additional authority to take them on.

Legislation (Amended since June 18th)

SB 67 (McGuire) - MAUCRSA requires the Department of Food and Agriculture, no later than January 1, 2018, to establish standards by which a licensed cultivator may designate a county of origin for cannabis, and requires for the designation that 100% of the cannabis be produced within the designated county, as specified. This bill would limit the establishment of appellations of origin to cannabis planted in the ground, in open air, with no artificial light during the flowering stage of cultivation until harvest. The bill would also require the department to establish standards by which a licensed cultivator may designate a city or city and county of origin for cannabis produced 100% within the designated city or city and county.

Comment Period Begins for CA’s Comparable-To-Organic Cannabis Program

July 7th marks the start of the public comment period for California’s OCal Program for certifying and enforcing comparable-to-organic standards for cannabis.

As Marijuana Business Daily reports, this is a great opportunity for cannabis businesses to differentiate themselves and stand apart from the crowd. Currently, cannabis businesses cannot participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s certification program. But OCal will be administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Directions for submitting your comments can be read here. Comments can be emailed to CDFA.CalCannabis_OCal@cdfa.ca.gov with the subject: Comments on OCal Regulations.

Amid Fiscal Woes, Cities are turning towards Cannabis Regulation

With sales tax revenues plunging, many cities are taking a second look at legalized cannabis as a revenue enhancer.

Politico reports that a number of California governments are now pursuing cannabis regulation and taxation. These include San Bruno, Montclair, Yucaipa, Grass Valley, Sonoma, Signal Hill, Wildomar, Lemon Grove, and Yountville.

There are signs it could work. Santa Barbara County is expecting $10.6 million in cannabis tax revenue for the fiscal year 2020-21, exceeding revenue from sales taxes for the first time. Monterey is also expecting to offset pandemic-related losses with millions in marijuana dollars. 

There is a long way to go. Four years after voters passed Proposition 64, commercial marijuana is still off limits in nearly 70% of California cities and counties.

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