Earlier this year, we sent you a rundown of pending California legislation. Each year, bills are introduced in our two-chamber state legislature (the Assembly and the Senate). A bill must advance through a series of steps in order to pass this year. Here are a few of the key deadlines:
  • June 4: The deadline for bills to pass in their originating chamber. Bills starting with “AB” originate in the Assembly. Bills starting with “SB” originate in the Senate.
  • September 10: The last day for each chamber to pass bills.
  • October 10: The last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills.
In this bulletin, we update you about selected legislation that is still in play (and what’s not) following the June 4 deadline. This year, the Senate and Assembly agreed to cap the number of bills each legislator could send to the other chamber.
They set a limit of 12 bills per person, forcing legislators to prioritize. Many cannabis bills did not make the cut, but some important ones did.
Note: As you come across bills of interest to you, click the hyperlink or call us to find out more. For a comprehensive list of state cannabis legislation, visit the California Legislative Information site and perform a keyword search.
Which bills are still active?
These bills have passed in the originating chamber and moved to the opposite chamber. That means they have a chance at becoming law later this year.
Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law
  • Under this bill, certain health care facilities could no longer prohibit or interfere with a terminally ill patient’s onsite use of medical cannabis.
  • SB 311 passed in the Senate (its originating chamber, by a vote of 36-0) and is now under review in the Assembly. 
Cannabis license deferral and waiver fee program: tax credit.
  • This bill would allow a tax credit for state and local cannabis licensing fees incurred by a local equity applicant or licensee in tax years 2021-2025.
  • It passed in the Senate (34-1) and is now under review in the Assembly. 
Unlawful cannabis activity: enforcement.
  • Existing law penalizes persons engaged in unlicensed commercial cannabis activity. This bill would also impose a civil penalty of up to $30k per violation on persons aiding and abetting such activity.
  • AB 1138 passed in the Assembly (75-0) and is now under review in the Senate. 
Commercial cannabis billboards: placement restrictions.
  • Existing law prohibits cannabis billboards on an Interstate Highway or on a State Highway which crosses the California border. This bill would only prohibit advertising or marketing on such highways within a 15 mile radius of the California border.
  • The BCC sent out a notice on June 7 stating that “Bureau licensees may not place advertising or marketing on a billboard, or similar advertising device, anywhere on an interstate or state highway that crosses the California border.” Note that the BCC’s job is to implement existing law, so if AB 1302 passes in the Senate and is signed by the Governor, the BCC would have to update its guidance.
  • AB 1302 passed in the Assembly (58-7) and is now under review in the Senate.
  • Another bill (AB 273), which sought to expand restrictions on outdoor advertising, did not pass in its originating chamber and therefore will not move forward in 2021. 
Cannabis: retail preparation, sale, or consumption of
noncannabis food and beverage products.
  • This bill would authorize a city/county to allow for the preparation or sale of noncannabis food or beverage products by a licensed retailer or microbusiness with onsite consumption.
  • AB 1034 passed in the Assembly (52-5) and is now under review in the Senate.
Controlled substances: decriminalization of certain hallucinogenic substances.
  • This bill would make lawful personal possession and social sharing of psilocybin, psilocyn, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ketamine, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) by and with persons at least 21 years old. It would also provide for the dismissal and sealing of convictions for offenses that become lawful under this bill and it would require research and recommendations regarding regulation and therapeutic use.
  • SB 519 passed the Senate (21-16) and is now under review in the Assembly. 
AB 45 Industrial hemp products
AB-527 Controlled substances
SB-544 Cannabis testing
Which bills stalled?

These bills did not advance to the opposite chamber by June 4 and therefore will not become law in 2021.

Cannabis licenses & Governor’s Budget, May Revision.
* Attention, provisional license holders!.*

SB-59. Cannabis licenses.
Eighty percent of California’s licenses are provisional and at risk if CEQA compliance has not yet been achieved by legal deadlines. This bill would have extended deadlines several years, to July 2028, if passed but it was pulled by the sponsor (Senator Caballero) in late May.

The governor, in his budget proposal, included $100 million to help with the transition from provisional to annual licenses. He had hoped to also offer an extension, giving provisional license holders an extra 6 months until June 30, 2022 to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The extension did not make it in the state budget bill approved on June 14.

Bottom line: the provisional license issue is unresolved. SB 59 would have granted adequate time for local jurisdictions and provisional license holders. Since that is off the table, we will be watching for the impact of the $100 million funding and for a solution before the end of the year that avoids the collapse of the state’s licensed supply chain.

Cannabis and cannabis products: animals: veterinary medicine.

Under current law, veterinarians can be disciplined for recommending medicinal cannabis for an animal. This bill would have enabled vets to provide such recommendations under certain circumstances.

AB 384 will not advance in 2021.

Employment discrimination: cannabis screening test.

This bill would have prohibited an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or employment because their drug screening test reveals the presence of THC.

AB 1256 will not advance in 2021.

Noncannabis cannabinoids.

This bill would have created testing and labeling requirements for non-cannabis cannabinoids (NCCs), such as hemp-derived CBD, which would be allowed in the cannabis supply chain. It would have imposed a per-milligram excise tax.

AB 1435 will not advance in 2021.

Cannabis: retailers: delivery: vehicles.

Right now, a delivery employee may carry $3,000-$5,000 of cannabis goods in the vehicle, based on orders received before the driver departed the premises. This bill would have created different value tiers by type of vehicle, and required development of transportation safety standards, a delivery vehicle inspection process, and a certification process.

AB 1014 will not advance in 2021.

Don’t forget: Right now, the bills above are proposals (not laws), and licensees should continue following current rules and regulations.

Stay tuned for updates in early Fall!

Nicole Howell talks psychedelics legislation and policies on “How to Launch an Ecosystem”. (June 2)

Nicole Howell shares her experiences with helping to create new psychedelics legislation and policies with Jahan Marcu, PhD, Nigam B. Arora, PhD, Sara Ward, PhD, and David Vaillencourt, MSc on one of the latest episodes of Marcu & Arora’s podcast, How to Launch an Ecosystem.
The discussion ranges from ways to incentivize private companies to invest in research, cannabis dinners in Thailand, research on predicting human responses to psychedelics, and data on the impact of cannabis use on outcomes in trauma patients.

If you have any questions about how the above or would like to discuss how it could impact your business, please contact your attorney directly or call our main line at 877-257-2442.

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