California Report: Cannabis Related Bills to Watch as the Legislature Reconvenes


California lawmakers are headed back to Sacramento this week to work on bills that are still alive this session.

The fate of some of the most-watched bills I covered in March have already been decided: AB 286, the measure to lower the cannabis tax rate, was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Another bill, AB 1356, that would require local cities and counties to issue a minimum number of cannabis business licenses if more than 50% of the electorate voted in favor of Proposition 64, was held in the Assembly after it failed to garner two-thirds support.

Meanwhile, this year’s budget included among other things, an extension of provisional business licenses for cannabis companies until 2022; addressing an issue that SB 67 sought to resolve.

With approximately one month left in the 2019 legislative session, there are several high-profile bills that still have yet to be decided. Here’s a quick summary of some of the most watched bills heading into the last month.

AB 228 (Aguiar-Curry) Food, beverage, and cosmetic adulterants: industrial hemp products – This bill would narrow California regulators’ ability to penalize companies for selling Hemp CBD beverages or foods on the grounds that they are “adulterated” under California law.

SB 34 (Wiener) Cannabis: donations – This bill would exempt qualifying compassion care programs from the cultivation and excise tax enacted by Proposition 64. This bill is nearly identical to SB 829 (Wiener) from last year that was vetoed by former Governor Brown. Proponents this time around are confident that Governor Newsom will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

SB 51 (Hertzberg) Financial institutions: cannabis – This bill establishes a state-chartered banking system to allow financial institutions to offer basic banking services to businesses in the cannabis industry. This bill is a reintroduction of SB 931 (Hertzberg) from 2018 that did not make it through the legislative process.

SB 153 (Wilk) Industrial hemp – This revises provisions regulating industrial hemp cultivation to conform California’s regulations to 2018 Farm Bill. The bill also requires the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture to work with the governor and attorney general to submit a state plan on industrial hemp to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on or before January 31, 2020.

SB 305 (Hueso) Access to Cannabis in Healthcare Facilities Act – This bill, the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law,  requires a healthcare facility to allow a patient who is receiving palliative care to use medical cannabis within the healthcare facility.

SB 581 (Caballero) Cannabis: licensing: public records – This bill would require the state’s licensing authorities to publish online information related to disciplinary actions taken against a cannabis business in another state or jurisdiction.

SB 595 (Bradford) Cannabis: local equity programs – This bill is a placeholder to provide financial support to local cannabis equity applicants and licensees. Last year, Governor Brown signed SB 1294 and the legislature approved $10 million to support equity programs across California. This bill appears to build on that progress.

SB 627 (Galgiani) Medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products: veterinary medicine – This bill would allow a veterinarian to discuss the use of, and issue a recommendation for the use of, medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products on an animal patient for any condition for which cannabis or cannabis products provide relief.

AB 5 (Gonzalez) Worker status: employees and independent contractors – This bill would limit the instances in which businesses can classify workers as independent contractors. Assembly Member Gonzalez has spent months working on compromises over which types of workers would get exemptions and will arguably be the most closely watched bill for the remainder of session.

If you have any questions related to any of these proposals, contact Ashley Martinez at

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