New Budget for California

On June 27, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed the 2017-18 California State Budget. Here’s a look at some of the highlights: 

Cannabis Regulation

The Budget integrates the existing Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act with the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64), which voters approved in November 2016, and provides a single regulatory system that will govern the cannabis industry in California while maximizing public and consumer safety. To ensure health and safety, licenses to test cannabis will be independent of all other license categories. In addition, quality assurance compliance monitors will conduct random quality assurance audits of distributors including the review of test results and tax payments, to provide for greater public and consumer safety and to ensure appropriate tax remittance. These two processes will ensure that cannabis or cannabis products will undergo quality assurance, inspection, and testing before products may be offered for retail sale, and that the state properly collects the taxes. The new Medicinal and Adult‑Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act allows for a vertically integrated licensing structure for both adult use and medicinal cannabis licenses, providing for models that allow small businesses to also thrive while preventing the development of monopolies. The Act provides for an open distribution model, allowing a business to hold multiple licenses, including a distribution license, making it easier for businesses to enter the market, encouraging innovation, and strengthening compliance with state laws. It also enhances environmental rules and regulations to provide greater protection against the environmental impacts of cannabis.

Enhanced Dam Safety

The Budget enacts legislation to require dams to have an emergency action plan that is updated at least every 10 years, with limited exceptions for low hazard dams. It also requires all dams and critical appurtenant structures to have updated inundation maps and to update the maps every 10 years, or sooner if local development patterns change, and provides regulatory tools to support these changes ranging from monetary fines to operational restrictions for failure to comply.  It also provides funds for improvements to emergency action plans and extended evaluations of appurtenant structures.

Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1)

The Budget implements the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1), which returns the gas tax’s purchasing power to 1994 levels and provides $54 billion in new funding over the next decade, split evenly between state and local funding. It calls for a focus on “fix‑it‑first” investments to repair neighborhood roads and state highways and bridges and make key investments in trade and commute corridors to support continued economic growth and implement a sustainable freight strategy. It also invests in passenger rail and public transit modernization and improvement.

Department of Parks and Recreation

Under the Road Repair and Accountability Act, the Department of Parks and Recreation will receive additional revenues which will support state parks, including off‑highway vehicle and boating programs.

Extended Fire Season

Provides funds and reimbursements for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) to expand the state’s firefighting capabilities and extend the fire season.

Saving Our Water

The Budget encourages efforts to make conservation a way of life by adding two positions to the Water Board to be funded within existing resources to continue to evaluate ongoing reporting of local water conservation data. It also provides money to support the Save Our Water campaign, which will continue public outreach to encourage water conservation.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The 2017 Budget expands California’s Earned Income Tax Credit to support more working families, including self‑employed parents, in line with the federal credit. In addition, it expands income ranges to help families working up to full‑time at the newly increased minimum wage to benefit from the program.

For more on the 2017-18 California State Budget, visit


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