California Cannabis Bills Await Gov. Newsom’s Signature

Here are the cannabis bills that passed by the end of the legislative session

No state has a longer history with legal cannabis than California. Voters in the state passed a medical cannabis initiative, in 1996, followed by an adult use initiative two decades later. During each legislative session since then, lawmakers have spent time hammering out proposed changes to the state’s cannabis laws. 

While California’s latest legislative session ended on Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom has until October 10 to sign bills into law, which this year includes a batch of cannabis and hemp-related bills. These pieces of legislation will guide everything from the state’s sprawling cannabidiol market to new efforts to curb illicit activity. 

Already, Newsom has signed significant cannabis-related bills into law. This includes the budget, signed into law this summer, which pushed forward the consolidation of the state’s cannabis regulation under the newly formed Department of Cannabis Control, increased allocations from cannabis tax revenue to $629.1 million, and allocated $100 million from the state’s general fund toward “grant funding for local governments to complete environmental studies, license reviews, and mitigate environmental impacts,” among other changes. This latter funding proposal is an “effort to transition cannabis businesses into the regulated market and to reduce barriers to entry for small businesses,” which remains one of the overarching priorities as the state tries to build up the regulated market while quashing its enduring unregulated one.

Another bill that Newsom signed into law, AB 1305, in late August, is the first in the nation to draw a distinction between cannabis cultivation that is regulated under state law, and that which is newly authorized by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. In short, the exemption from state law that is outlined by the bill would “clear up the catch-22 that DEA-permitted researchers are in,” Mark Isidro, Assemblymember Tom Lackey’s legislative director, told Cannabis Wire, because “the federal government does not recognize any state cannabis system as legitimate.” Lackey is the sponsor of the bill. 

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