Earlier this week, members of the California State Legislature traveled to the Capitol to be sworn-in and start the 2019-20 legislative session. On day one, over 200 bills were introduced including at least three involving cannabis.
AB 3 (Cooper), was introduced on the first day in “spot bill” form. A spot bill is a vehicle that could be amended at a later date with substantive language. At this point, the bill references its intent to make changes to the law regarding cannabis sales to minors. Again, this bill will most likely be amended and could address a different topic within the same code later in the legislative session.
AB 34 (Wiener), is a reintroduction of last year’s bill, SB 829 by the same author which would exempt qualifying compassion care programs from the cultivation and excise tax enacted by Proposition 64. SB 829 was vetoed by Governor Brown and in his veto message he made clear his belief that providing free cannabis undermined the intent of voters, i.e. voters supported legalizing cannabis in exchange for tax revenues to support local and state programs. Proponents of this bill are hoping that Governor-elect Gavin Newsom will view the issue differently than his predecessor.
SB 51 (Hertzberg), is another reintroduction from last year’s session. SB 931, would have established a state-chartered banking system to allow financial institutions to offer basic banking services to businesses in the cannabis industry. The bill was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, however, the lack of movement on the federal level to open up financial services to the industry, a state solution has placed California in a position to take action on its own.
For more information about these bills or to receive updates on legislation as it is introduced, contact me at ashley@ampublicaffairs.