California Legislature: Lawmakers to consider nearly 60 marijuana-related bills

There are 58 bills pending before the California Legislature in 2019 that include the word “cannabis” or “marijuana,” which means the state’s industry could be in for another tumultuous year of big changes.

Many of the measures touch on significant industry hurdles, ranging from the lack of banking access to reducing state tax rates to an ongoing debate over statewide MJ delivery.

Not all the bills are major legal changes, however, and many are not industry-related.

Some also have been introduced as placeholders but are awaiting full language – such as Assembly Bill 1678, which merely states that its intent is to “enact legislation relating to cannabis” – meaning more legislation has yet to fully take shape.

The California Cannabis Industry Association also lists 47 bills that it’s tracking, which the organization shared with Marijuana Business Daily.

Below are the top 12 legislative measures that could impact California cannabis businesses, what they would do if signed into law and where they stand at the Capitol.

Several require a two-thirds supermajority vote to pass because they amend Proposition 64, the 2016 marijuana legalization measure that is now part of the California Constitution.

Others that only change state law require a simple majority to pass.

State Assembly

Assembly Bill 37

What it would do: Help offset the federal 280E tax burden by creating a carve-out for business deductions in California’s personal income tax for state-licensed cannabis companies.

Primary sponsor: Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Los Angeles Democrat.

Status: Referred to Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation. Awaiting hearings.

Assembly Bill 953

What it would do: Allow marijuana companies to pay state and local taxes via a cryptocurrency method called “stablecoins.”

Primary sponsors: Assembly members Philip Ting, a San Francisco Democrat, and Kevin McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat.

Status: Awaiting committee assignment.

Assembly Bill 286

What it would do: Temporarily slash the state cannabis excise tax from 15% to 11% and suspend the state MJ cultivation tax until June 2022.

Primary sponsors: Assembly members Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Oakland; Ken Cooley, a Democrat from Rancho Cordova; Tom Lackey, a Republican from Palmdale; and Jones-Sawyer.

Status: Referred to Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation and Committee on Business and Professions. Awaiting hearings. Requires two-thirds support to pass both chambers.

Assembly Bill 1288

What it would do: Require that additional MJ sales data be uploaded into California’s track-and-trace program, including the date of every sale and whether each sale was conducted at a shop or via delivery.

Primary sponsor: Assembly member Cooley.

Status: Awaiting committee assignment.

Assembly Bill 1420

What it would do: Prohibit state regulators from raising application and licensing fees past what was already established as of January.

Primary sponsor: Assembly member Jay Obernolte, a Republican from Big Bear Lake.

Status: Awaiting committee assignment. Requires two-thirds support to pass both chambers.

Assembly Bill 1525

What it would do: Codify that financial institutions such as banks and credit unions that work with cannabis companies are not in violation of state law.

Primary sponsor: Assembly member Jones-Sawyer.

Status: Awaiting committee assignment. Requires two-thirds support to pass both chambers.

Assembly Bill 1530

What it would do: Reverse a controversial policy adopted in 2018 by the Bureau of Cannabis Control that allows marijuana deliveries to be performed anywhere in the state regardless of city or county bans on commercial cannabis activity. Would also establish a competitive grant program through the Board of State and Community Corrections to expand enforcement efforts against unlicensed marijuana businesses and increase consumer education.

Primary sponsor: Assembly member Cooley.

Status: Awaiting committee assignment. Requires two-thirds support to pass both chambers.

State Senate

Senate Bill 34

What it would do: Allow licensed cannabis companies to give away goods for free to medical patients, essentially relegalizing so-called “compassion programs” that were common for years in California’s MMJ market.

Primary sponsors: Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat; Assembly members Bonta and Jim Wood, a Santa Rosa Democrat.

Status: Referred to the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance and the Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. Awaiting hearings. Requires two-thirds support to pass both chambers.

Senate Bill 51

What it would do: Allow for the establishment of “cannabis limited charter banks and credit unions” to serve the marijuana industry.

Primary sponsors: Sen. Robert Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat, and Assembly member Bonta.

Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions and the Committee on Governance and Finance. Awaiting hearings.

Senate Bill 67

What it would do: Extend the life span of temporary business licenses until the end of 2019 for companies that have already submitted annual license applications.

Primary sponsors: Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat from Healdsburg, and Assembly member Wood.

Status: Approved by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Awaiting hearings. Requires two-thirds support to pass both chambers.

Senate Bill 475

What it would do: Allow the sharing of free-trade samples of cannabis products between licensees.

Primary sponsors: Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley.

Status: Awaiting committee assignment.

Senate Bill 625

What it would do: Legalize marijuana party buses.

Primary sponsors: Sen. Jerry Hill, a San Francisco Democrat.

Status: Awaiting committee assignment.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

9 comments on “California Legislature: Lawmakers to consider nearly 60 marijuana-related bills
  1. Anthony curiale on

    Until the state prohibits cities and counties from preventing cannabis activity these changes are mostly cosmetic, insufficient or unworkable. The chaos will continue, the legitimate market will not expand, the black market will sustain itself and only multi million dollar investors will will be able to overcome the extreme cost of entry.

    Reply
    • Norm Arnett on

      Anthony nailed it. I totally agree with his position. County bans are silver spike in the heart for cultivators.
      This needs to be addressed A.S.A.P. As planting season is almost here

      Reply
      • Pat on

        Sounds like all of these replies are feeling the same thing. All the reactions are similar as it relates the implementation of this ca. state “law.”

        Got bad news for you Norm… This whole thing with the county bans was at “the heart” of their plan. The legislator’s and their special interest cartel friends, didn’t want the competition ( that would bring down prices and tax revenue ) so they made sure to include that provision in this corrupt law. Most of the rural areas in the state are conservative and often redneck areas whose local government’s have never wanted weed growing in their backyards anyway ( although most of the citizens living in those areas whom were growing prior to this latest iteration of state law continue to do so… Because they know it’s all b.s. ). The state and their cohorts know this dynamic and took advantage of it for themselves, and not to help everyone else out. Most of these rural areas are also the most desirable places for cannabis to thrive. These ( state/friends ) guys know this too. But, it’s turning sour on them. They think that these b.s. “tweaks” in the law are going to mean something. That’s because they’re sticking w/their original plan. Not what’s good for the state as a whole. For themselves, only.

        Reply
    • grant on

      delivery services will grow to meet the need in areas where sales a prohibited. This combined with Native retail sales, will push the county’s to change their stance. Their prohibition of retail sales in their area will not work in the long run

      Reply
  2. john ward on

    ”Governance and Finance. Awaiting hearings.

    Senate Bill 67

    What it would do: Extend the life span of temporary business licenses until the end of 2019 for companies that have already submitted annual license applications.

    Thank You, Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat from Healdsburg, and Assembly member Wood.

    The rest is too little and too late. In fact this public initiative (prop 64) is no longer the law the people of California voted for. 85% of the prop 215 vendor base is gone. Gone from the regulatory system that is. And that 85% is growing and organizing as a grey market solution to the states hostile takeover of the Cannabis market. On top of that the BCC received a $30,000,000 loan from the tax payers and used it to destroy the very market it was suppose bring from the dark side into the light of day.
    A new proposition is needed to allow the consumer an option to use the non BCC market. A brand new set of rules that make sense, down from about 300 pages to around 3 or 4. Taxes should be regular sales tax and a regular business license for this harmless plant.
    Of course since that can’t happen, A class action lawsuit might do the trick. The state of California cannot be trusted with running the Cannabis program.

    Reply
  3. James Stokes on

    Agree with John Ward on SB67. California is destroying the cannabis business and driving it back underground. Washington State is introducing legislation to allow for small growers to sell locally and allow for equitable businesses for everyone. This legislation also works on the same basis as any other sales taxable product.

    Reply
  4. Monkey Man on

    What would it do:
    if we scrapped our two-party inefficient, always-fighting-against- the- country system, and had a one body government of Independent politicians who would bring up an issue, debate it, deal with it or not and move onto the next issue, everyone voting privately and independently.?
    Someone once said, “Americans are too stupid to deserve democracy!” By the way it has been running for a long time, that appears to be correct. Change to an Independent government.

    Reply
  5. Jay on

    They need to write a bill that would prohibit cities from prohibiting outdoor grows. Some people who need to grow for legitimate medical needs, cancer, autoimmune disease etc like to juice the raw plant for thc-A. Outside grows will yield much larger plants. I don’t believe these patients can meet their needs with 6 indoor plants. Not everyone can afford the dispensaries.

    Also, even with the small drop in taxes that are proposed, the taxes are still sky high once you include local taxes. The black market will thrive until this is changed.

    Reply
    • Pat on

      The state blew it. Permanently. Had it been 215/420 w/some reasonable modifications, you wouldn’t need “social equity” programs…. And the public safety, environmental concerns would have been negligible in comparison to what people are up against now. Meaning, it’s not sufficient to call all these hurdles just barriers to entry. They’re ARTIFICIAL barriers. Largely made up, with no research or evidence to back up most of it; and the associated price tags. It’s mostly all serious b.s.

      Those that were middle of the road black market ( not wealthy black market…the few/original cartels ) and less; whom scrimped/saved, applied and got a license or whom are “stuck” in the licensing process…are regretting life.

      Reply

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