When it comes to first-in-the-nation cannabis regulations and policies, California’s list keeps getting longer.
Some past examples: QR codes are now required at licensed cannabis retailers to allow consumers to determine if they are at a regulated shop. The state’s OCal program allows cultivators to differentiate their crop as comparable-to-organic; today, USDA organic status is unavailable to these growers because cannabis is federally illegal. And the state’s cannabis appellation program allows growers to label and market their crop by its geographical origin, like Champagne for wine.
It would be an understatement to say that California’s cannabis industry has undergone a sweeping transformation over the last couple of years as the result of innovative legislative and regulatory proposals such as these.
Now, as the legislative session picks up speed, more than a dozen bills aim to further shape the industry.
While the problem of the persistent unregulated industry is the subject of perhaps the most robust legislative push this year, here are some of the other noteworthy bills in play:
SB 1326 (Sponsor: Senator Anna Caballero)
The bill aims to allow interstate commerce, which is currently not allowed anywhere in the United States as cannabis remains federally illegal.
The bill would, in short, “authorize the Governor to enter into an agreement with another state or states authorizing medicinal or adult-use commercial cannabis activity, or both, between entities licensed under the laws of the other state or states and entities operating with a state license pursuant to [the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act], provided that the commercial cannabis activities are lawful and subject to licensure under the laws of the other state or states.”
AB 1656 (Sponsor: Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry)
The bill would allow hemp-derived CBD products at adult use cannabis shops, which is currently not allowed, as hemp products and adult use cannabis products are regulated separately.
The bill would make it so that state law “does not prohibit a licensee from manufacturing, distributing, or selling products that contain industrial hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp, if the product complies with all applicable state laws and regulations.”
AB 2844 (Sponsor: Assembly member Ash Kalra)
The bill would create a cannabis caterer license (think: weddings).
Specifically, the bill “would authorize the department to issue a state caterer license authorizing the licensee to serve cannabis or cannabis products at a private event approved by a local jurisdiction for the purpose of allowing event attendees to consume the cannabis or cannabis products. Under the bill, consumption of alcohol or tobacco would be authorized on the premises of that event. The bill would authorize a caterer licensee to reuse cannabis at a subsequent event, as provided.”
A couple of other bills sponsored by other lawmakers address cannabis at events. AB 2691 would allow for “temporary cultivator event retail licenses,” which would allow licensees to “sell cannabis or cannabis products, containing cannabis cultivated by that licensee, at cannabis events in the state.” It would be “valid only for the specific cannabis event for which it was issued” and the law “would limit the number of temporary cultivator event retail licenses issued to each licensee to 12 per calendar year.” (California now has a cannabis competition at its state fair.)
And, AB 2210 would allow for a “temporary event license” that would allow cannabis retailers to sell cannabis at events at venues licensed by alcohol regulators as long as cannabis and alcohol sales and consumption are separate.
AB 2568 (Sponsor: Assembly member Ken Cooley)
This bill states that it’s not a crime to provide insurance to cannabis companies.
Specifically, considering that cannabis remains illegal under federal law, it “would provide it is not a crime solely for individuals and firms to provide insurance and related services to persons licensed to engage in commercial cannabis activity.”
AB 2150 (Sponsors: Assembly members Tom Lackey and Ken Cooley)
The bill would fund an expansive study on cannabis-impaired driving. There is currently no national definition of cannabis-impaired driving, as Cannabis Wire has reported.
The state’s cannabis law requires, “if the Regents of the University of California accept the responsibility,” for them to “establish the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.” The bill would subsequently “require the center to establish a study examining the effects of cannabis products that are currently in the commercial cannabis stream of commerce and, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, evaluating the public safety consequences of cannabis use and improving understanding of the best methods for determining related driving impairments.” The findings would be due by the start of 2027, and the study would receive $2 million in funding from cannabis tax revenue.
SB 1426 (Sponsor: Senator Anna Caballero)
This bill aims to combat illegal cultivation – which has undermined the legal market and caused environmental damage in the state – by making it a felony to steal groundwater.
Specifically, the bill would make it a felony “to plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process more than 6 living cannabis plants, or any part thereof, and where that activity involves theft of groundwater, unauthorized tapping into a water conveyance or storage infrastructure, digging an unpermitted, illegal well, or the pollution of groundwater, as specified. This bill would also clarify that causing substantial environmental harm to public resources includes groundwater.”