Governor positions California cannabis businesses for interstate commerce

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(This story has been updated to specify the conditions under which interstate commerce could take effect.)

California marijuana companies will be able to do business with other markets that allow medical and recreational cannabis under a new state law.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday signed Senate Bill 1326 to create interstate commerce pacts, overriding a longstanding prohibition on the transportation and distribution of cannabis products across state lines.

However, an agreement with a partnering state will be sanctioned only if one of the following criteria are met:

  • Federal legalization, which is not imminent.
  • Federal law is enacted prohibiting the expenditure of federal funds preventing interstate cannabis transfer.
  • The U. S. Department of Justice issues an opinion or memorandum allowing interstate transfer of cannabis.
  • The U.S. attorney general issues a written opinion that state law pursuant to medical or adult-use commercial marijuana activity will not result in “significant legal risk to the State of California under the federal Controlled Substances Act, based on review of applicable law, including federal judicial decisions and administrative actions.”

The bill was introduced by Democratic Sen. Anna Caballero, who represents nearly 1 million residents in predominantly rural, agricultural communities in central California.

The idea of interstate marijuana commerce pacts has been picking up momentum across the country, particularly in neighboring states to California that allow medical and adult-use sales.

SB 1326 was one of several cannabis-related bills Gov. Newsom has signed in recent days.