The Top 5 Cannabis Related Bills Currently in the California Legislature

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In the 2018 California Legislative Session, at least 40 bills have been introduced that are cannabis related. Here are the top five bills that are currently being tracked by the industry.

Temporary Events

AB 2020 (Quirk) expands where cannabis events could be held, as long as the local governing entity approves. Current law limits cannabis events to the state’s 23 county fairgrounds or 52 active district agricultural associations, and many in the industry argue that these limits have stifled economic opportunities for both cannabis businesses and the local governments that support commercial cannabis activities in their communities. A Similar bill, AB 2641 (Wood) would also allow the Bureau of Cannabis Control to issue a temporary retailer license for cultivators and manufacturers to sell their products at events. Both bills were heard and passed out of their first policy committee and are now awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Workplace Protections

AB 2069 (Bonta) would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who are treating a known physical or mental disability or medical condition with medical cannabis and has a medical marijuana ID card. The bill does not prevent employers from disciplining or even firing employees that are under the influence while at work, but does provide a level of protection for employees that use marijuana outside of work and test positive for cannabis. The bill faces significant opposition from employers, including the California Chamber of Commerce. Their argument is that the bill will place additional burdens on the employer and hinder their ability to effectively manage the workplace. The bill passed out of the first policy committee and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Temporary Tax Reduction

AB 3157 (Lackey) would temporarily suspend the cultivation tax and lower the cannabis excise tax from 15% to 11% until 2021. In March, we covered the potential impacts of what a reduction would mean for local enforcement and oversight and the industry. The bill passed its first legislative hurdle on a unanimous 8 – 0 bi-partisan vote. The bill now heads to its second policy committee and will be heard on May 8, 2018, at 9:30a.m. in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

Statewide Banking Solution

SB 930 (Hertzberg) would create a statewide-chartered banking system to allow California banks to offer basic services to cannabis businesses. This bill, sponsored by Board of Equalization Board Member and State Treasurer candidate, Fiona Ma has received significant support early in the legislative process and passed from both the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions and the Senate Governance and Finance on a 7 – 0 and 6 – 1 vote, respectively. The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will most likely be heard in May.

Local Deliveries

SB 1302 (Lara) would prohibit cities and counties, including chartered cities from banning cannabis deliveries in their jurisdiction. This bill is an attempt to enforce the intent of Proposition 64 which was to create a statewide legal adult-use system. However, in the first few months since legalization, at least 75% of the state’s cities and counties ban the deliver of both medical and recreational cannabis in their area. The bill has strong support from the industry, and faces stiff opposition from cities and counties. The bill faces its first legislative test on May 2, 2018, at 9:30a.m. in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

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