Multiple marijuana-related reform bills have advanced through the California legislature and are now on their way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
This includes separate measures to allow for interstate cannabis commerce, protect insurance firms that service licensed cannabusinesses, and facilitate record sealing for marijuana convictions, among others.
The flurry of activity came at the end of the legislative session, while several other cannabis bills were still in play, including one that would prohibit local jurisdictions from refusing to allow deliveries of medical marijuana, another that would provide employment protections for off-the-job cannabis use and one more that would set minimum security requirements for cannabis transport.
Perhaps the most noteworthy of the approved bills is SB 1326, which will allow California to engage in cannabis commerce with other states that have legalized marijuana, so long as it receives an official assurance that this would not put either state at risk of federal intervention.
Here’s a quick round up of the other approved measures:
- AB 1706, filed by Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D), mandates district courts to seal the records of those with eligible marijuana convictions by March 1, 2023.
- AB 2568, filed by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D), will ensure that “it is not a crime solely for individuals and firms to provide insurance and related services to persons licensed to engage in commercial cannabis activity,” along similar lines as a bill recently signed into law by the governor of Pennsylvania.
- AB 1954, filed by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D), ensures doctors cannot deny treatment or medication on the basis of a positive THC test to a patient registered in the state’s medical marijuana program.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is widely expected to put his signature to the approved marijuana bills but while he has a long track record of supporting reforms to California cannabis laws, he recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed for the creation of a pilot program of safe consumption sites for illicit drugs. The governor of Vermont recently vetoed similar legislation that would have established a working group responsible for creating a pilot program framework for supervised illicit drug consumption sites.
City officials in San Francisco have since indicated they are considering launching an overdose prevention program that would include the use of safe consumption sites, irrespective of Newsom’s veto.
Newsom’s recently approved budget also included several cannabis-related provisions, such as the elimination of cultivation tax requirements for licensed marijuana growers, a shift of excise tax obligations from marijuana distributors to retailers and a freeze on excise tax for at least three years.