New California marijuana laws address social equity, labor and vapes

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several cannabis-related bills that, among other things, are designed to bolster minority participation in the industry, ensure labor peace and institute a vaporizer cartridge labeling requirement.

Here are summaries of the marijuana bills signed into law by the Democratic governor:

  • Senate Bill 595 requires the state to implement a program by Jan. 1, 2021, that defers or waives license application and licensing or renewal fees for qualified “needs-based” applicants. This is a social equity provision to boost minority participation in the industry.
  • Assembly Bill 1529 requires adding a universal symbol no smaller than a quarter-inch-by-quarter inch on all cannabis vaporizer cartridges. The symbol must be engraved, affixed with a sticker or printed in black or white.
  • Assembly Bill 1291 strengthens an existing provision for marijuana businesses by requiring applicants with 20 or more employees to provide a notarized statement that they will enter into and abide by the terms of a labor peace agreement.
  • Assembly Bill 858 clarifies some requirements for “specialty cottage” growers with a maximum 2,500 square feet of canopy.
  • Senate Bill 34 allows marijuana retailers to provide free products to medical patients that meet certain criteria. Such was a common industry practice until new regulations went into effect in 2018.

Newsom also signed a bill, AB 37, that allows cannabis business owners to deduct business expenses at the state level, something that remains illegal federally.

For more on the marijuana bills Newsom signed, click here.