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Here are the cannabis bills that Gov. Newsom has signed and vetoed so far.
Last month, we published an overview of the major cannabis bills that reached Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, including one that would have expanded the state’s cannabis cafe scene.
Well, while Newsom has signed several cannabis bills, that long-anticipated one wasn’t among them.
Here are some of the noteworthy cannabis bills that Newsom has signed, and vetoed, so far:
• SB 51 – allows for provisional retail licenses for equity applicants.
“Though the state has made significant progress since the passage of Proposition 64, local opposition, rigid bureaucracy, and federal prohibition continue to pose challenges to the industry and barriers to entry. Equity applicants, who bore the brunt of California’s failed history of cannabis prohibition, are disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to capital and technical support, steep licensing fees, lengthy land-use approvals, environmental requirements, and more,” Newsom wrote in his signing message.
He continued: “While I support the author’s effort to bring temporary relief to equity applicants, this bill does not address the fundamental issues that continue to increase costs and uncertainty for those seeking to participate in the legal market. To the contrary, another extension may remove pressure to confront local permitting challenges and slow efforts to facilitate the transition of provisional licenses to annual licensure.”
• AB 1171 – allows cannabis licensees to bring an action in court against unlicensed operators.
• AB 1684 – allows for local ordinances that impose fines for unlicensed cannabis activity, including on property owners.
• SB 302 – allows adults 65 and older who have a chronic illness to use medical cannabis in certain healthcare facilities.
“I anticipate clean-up legislation to this bill next year to clarify a drafting error. Specifically, the bill excludes hospitals from its provisions, but could be interpreted to narrow existing law for hospital patients that have both a terminal illness and chronic disease. It is my understanding this was not the intent. Many individuals with chronic diseases seek medicinal cannabis as an alternative to opioids for treatment of chronic pain, and their living situation should not be a barrier to access. I believe signing this legislation has greater benefits than concerns, recognizing that the policy will be clarified,” Newsom wrote.
• SB 540 – requires regulators to create brochures for health warnings and risks related to cannabis consumption.
• SB 622 – allows regulators to rethink the way in which they “require the unique identifier to be recorded” for plants.
Senator Ben Allen, the bill’s author, celebrated the signing on Monday.
“Beyond environmental and financial impacts for our local governments, plastic products have become a public health hazard such that we are finding microplastics in bloodstreams. We should act responsibly to curb the unnecessary use of plastics where possible,” he said in a statement. “As the cannabis industry continues to develop in California, it is critical that we support sustainability as a pillar of its growth. SB 622 aims to do just that, and I thank Governor Newsom for signing this common-sense measure.”
• SB 753 – allows for felony charges against illegal cultivation and processing that harms groundwater.
• SB 700 – makes it “unlawful” for employers to ask for information from applicants regarding past cannabis use
• AB 623 – adjusts testing requirements for edibles.
• AB 1207 – would have banned products that are “attractive to children.”
“While I deeply appreciate and agree with the author’s intent, I am concerned that the definition of ‘attractive to children’ used in this bill is overly broad. By prohibiting entire categories of images, this bill would sweep in commonplace designs, and I am not convinced that these additional limits will meaningfully protect children beyond what is required under existing law,” Newsom wrote.
“California must continue to refine and advance its regulation of cannabis to protect the health and safety of children. As such, I am directing the Department of Cannabis Control to strengthen and expand existing youth related cannabis protections – including measures to enhance enforcement of those protections.”
• AB 374 – would have allowed for the sale of non-cannabis food and drinks at consumption spaces, and allowed for live performances in these spaces.
“I appreciate the author’s intent to provide cannabis retailers with increased business opportunities and an avenue to attract new customers. However, I am concerned this bill could undermine California’s long-standing smoke-free workplace protections,” Newsom wrote.
“Protecting the health and safety of workers is paramount. I encourage the author to address this concern in subsequent legislation.”
CAURD lawsuit: judge grants 5 exemptions, plaintiffs take issue with broader rollout.
To make a long story short, the CAURD program has been paused since August. (If you don’t know what the CAURD program is, or why it’s paused, check out our recent explainer on New York’s adult use rollout.)
From August to now: The judge agreed in August to make limited exceptions to the pause, if regulators can show that certain licensees were ready to open right before the injunction, which paused the program, took effect. Since August, there’s been a bunch of back and forth between the judge and regulators during which, in short, regulators put forth 30 names, then whittled it down to 12 after the judge found fault with their methodology. The judge still found issues with how much information regulators provided about the 12, so, since a month or so ago, regulators have been providing heaps.
Now: as of Friday, the judge has granted five exemptions. They are: Kush Culture Industry LLC; ConBud LLC; Air City Cannabis LLC; Gotham Buds LLC; and North Country Roots Inc.
Separately, the plaintiffs in the case wrote to the judge on Oct 5 to take issue with what they say is an effort by regulators to “circumvent” the injunction by prioritizing CAURD licensees in the broader adult use application window that went live last week.
“OCM recently posted a mock application on its website, which notably includes a check box for potential applicants to designate whether they previously applied for a CAURD license,” they wrote. “This begs the question: why is OCM asking applicants to indicate whether they applied for a CAURD license unless OCM intends to give CAURD applicants (who otherwise are not entitled to priority under the MRTA) some sort of advantage in the process?”
Ohio AG releases legal analysis of State Issue 2, the adult use cannabis legalization proposal.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost released legal analyses of two hot-button voter issues, including cannabis legalization, which will appear as Issue 2 on ballots next month.
“On Nov. 7, 2023, Ohioans will have the opportunity to vote on two ballot initiatives. As is the case with almost all statewide issues, these initiatives involve controversial topics that have ardent supporters as well as fervent critics,” he wrote in a message alongside the analyses.
“Both supporters and opponents of State Issue 1 — which deals with reproductive rights and abortion — and State Issue 2, the recreational marijuana statute, will have plenty to say about their respective policy positions. Too often, the rhetoric will become inflamed and inaccurate, with contradictory statements made about what the proposals would do. If history is any guide, the passions will run high but the amount of quality information will likely be low.”
Yost alluded to the possibility that the legalization proposal could end up in court.
“This is not an exercise in advocacy. Rather, it is an effort to help Ohioans understand the legal impacts that Issue 1 and Issue 2 generate. As you’ll see, most of the legal ramifications of Issue 1 and Issue 2, if approved, are clear. Other aspects, however, are not clear and will most certainly end up in court,” Yost wrote.
+ More: Read Cannabis Wire’s coverage of Ohio’s path to cannabis law reform.