On September 18, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newson signed ten cannabis-related bills all in one go after they were delivered to him by the legislature. The bills are intended to strengthen the cannabis laws in California, expand legal cannabis markets, and amend the difficulties caused by prohibition. He highlighted the necessity of the reforms in helping to fulfill the promises of legalization and addressing the impacts of prohibition.
A Summary Of All The Bthat Were Signed By Newsom
Newsom stated in a press release, “These measures build on the important strides our state has made toward this goal, but much work remains to build an equitable, safe, and sustainable legal cannabis industry. I look forward to partnering with the Legislature and policymakers to fully realize cannabis legalization in communities across California.”
One of the more significant bills that the governor signed was SB1326 by Senator Anna Caballero (D). The bill intends to allow for interstate commerce from California to other legal states. It is contingent on an official assurance that it won’t result in federal enforcement action against California. Caballero stated that the bill would provide a solution to the oversupply of cannabis, support job creation, and give California an advantage against competitors as the federal policy develops.
Gov. Newson also approved Bonta’s legislation AB1706, which requires the courts to process record sealing and other forms of relief for eligible cannabis convictions that weren’t challenged in July 1, 2020. Courts have until March 1, 2023, to seal the records of these qualifying cases. According to Marijuana Moment, Bonta shared the significance of her bill in a press release by saying, “My bill finally provides that relief and guarantees individuals are not denied opportunities to succeed in life because of minor cannabis records. We have a moral obligation to get this right.”
Bill AB2188 ensures that employees are not discriminated against on any terms of employment. The bill makes it unlawful for employers to not hire or terminate a person’s employment solely based on their off-duty cannabis use. It also eliminates employer-based THC testing, with the exception of some positions, such as federal employees or people working in construction.
Bill SB1186 would help medical cannabis patients or their primary caregivers access medical cannabis through deliveries. The bill would prohibit a local jurisdiction from adopting or enforcing any regulation that would prohibit a medical cannabis retail sale from delivering to patients.
Bill AB 1885 broadly legalizes cannabis for veterinary use, carving out protections for licensed veterinarians when recommending it for animals. It also mandates that the Veterinary Medical Board set out appropriate guidelines for those veterinarians. Here you have a case of California making appropriate protections for professionals, but also working closely with regulators to ensure standards are upheld.
Very simply, AB 2568 decriminalizes the procurement of insurance for those working with commercial cannabis. “Commercial”, in this case, means only those who are appropriately licensed, in effect protecting both those who work responsibly with cannabis and the insurers.
Some concerns still exist with cannabis legalization, and AB 1894 introduces packaging and advertising standards for all cannabis-related products. These standards closely mirror those in place for tobacco: child-proof packaging, warning labels, instructions for appropriate disposal, and making illegal the advertising of such products to children.
Another bill intended to protect minors is AB 2925, which directs that California’s State Department of Health Care Services begin submitting regular reports on the tax revenue received from cannabis as it is redirected to the Youth Education, Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account. This funding is already legally required in California, but these reports will allow the public easier access to information about how the legalization of cannabis can contribute to the prevention of dangerous, illicit drugs.
Returning to the issue of packaging, cannabis beverages have been authorized to be sold in packages that are either clear or of any color.
A further bill protects event organizers from being denied a state temporary event license, if it were to be denied solely due to those organizers offering legal (and licensed) cannabis products at said events. AB 2210 will protect, for example, music festival organizers who have received licensing when hoping to sell cannabis products at set events.
Overall this is a good package of bills while cannabis is already legal in California many of these bills will support commercial cannabis activities in the state. It also introduces important protections for cannabis users, and rectifies the consequences of prohibition.
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