The 2018 California Legislative session saw more than 1000 bills signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on topics ranging from net neutrality to gender discrimination, climate change to plastic straws, and, of course… cannabis.
Cannabis-related legislation was a cornerstone of the legislative session. Some new laws offered minor language cleanup to the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), while others created new licenses, programs and regulations.
Here’s a look ahead at California cannabis laws in 2019.
AB 106 (Committee on Budget) Cannabis: licenses: criminal records and AB 1817 (Committee on Budget) State government. These committee bills clarified the authority for cannabis licensing authorities to receive criminal history information from federal background checks, and for the Department of Justice to transmit cannabis applicant fingerprint images and related information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
AB 710 (Wood) Cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a chemical component of cannabis, but it doesn’t create the “high” feeling, which comes from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This law would allow physicians, pharmacists and other authorized healing arts licensees to legally prescribe, furnish or dispense products composed of cannabidiol as long as the product is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Research has shown CBD products to hold promise as a treatment for epilepsy and other ailments.
AB 1527 (Jones-Sawyer) Cannabis: Cannabis Control Appeals Panel. When voters passed Proposition 64 in 2016, part of the law called for the creation of a panel to hear appeals brought by those who were aggrieved by specific decisions made by cannabis licensing authorities. AB 1527 cleans up the language as it pertained to the process by which appeals panel members could be removed from their posts.
AB 2020 (Quirk) Cannabis: local jurisdiction licensees: temporary event license. This law gives local jurisdictions the authority to issue licenses for cannabis events at any venue they wish to permit. In order to be eligible for a temporary event license, an applicant would have to be a current licensee of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.
AB 2215 (Kalra) Veterinarians: cannabis: animals. AB 2215 prohibits veterinarians dispensing or administering cannabis products to an animal patient, or from advertising for cannabis. The law also prohibits veterinarians from discussing medicinal cannabis with a client if the veterinarian is accepting any form of compensation from a MAUCRSA licensee, or if the veterinarian or his or her immediate family has a financial interest with a MAUCRSA licensee. The Veterinary Medical Board has the authority to fine or revoke the license of veterinarians who break the law.
AB 2402 (Low) Cannabis: personal information. Existing law requires cannabis licensees to maintain specified records of commercial cannabis transactions. AB 2402 prevents buyer information from being sold or traded for commercial purposes by prohibiting cannabis retailers from disclosing a consumer’s personal information to a third party with two exceptions: information can be shared in conjunction with processing payments, and to government officials, such as police performing official duties.
AB 2721 (Quirk) Cannabis: testing laboratories. This law authorizes testing laboratories to test cannabis from consumers who grow it for personal recreational use, thereby allowing consumers to access valuable information about what they consume and protect them from ingesting potentially hazardous materials.
AB 2799 (Jones-Sawyer) Adult-use cannabis and medicinal cannabis: license application: OSHA training. The Cal-OSHA 30-hour General Industry Outreach Training course is a comprehensive safety program designed for workers with safety responsibility. AB 2799 helps ensure employees and employers are aware of their rights and responsibilities by requiring that an applicant for cannabis licensure employ one employee and one supervisor that have successfully completed the course, either at the time of application or within one year of receiving a license. Applicants with only one employee are exempt from this training.
AB 2899 (Rubio) Cannabis: advertisements. This law prohibits a cannabis business whose license is suspended is prohibited from engaging in advertising or marketing, ensuring that illegitimate or unscrupulous cannabis businesses cannot reach consumers without a valid license in good standing.
AB 2914 (Cooley) Cannabis in alcoholic beverages. Cannabis licensees are already prohibited by existing law from selling or manufacturing cannabis products that contain alcohol. AB 2914 prohibits an alcoholic beverage licensee from selling, offering or providing any cannabis products in alcoholic beverages, including the sale of alcoholic beverages that contain THC, CBD or hemp, regardless of the source.
AB 3067 (Chau) Internet: marketing: minors: cannabis. This law adds cannabis and any cannabis product, business or paraphernalia item to the list of products and services prohibited from being marketed to minors on the internet, whether on the web or web service, or on mobile devices or apps.
SB 311 (Pan) Commercial cannabis activity: licensed distributors. Existing law requires commercial cannabis distributors to arrange for a testing laboratory to obtain samples for testing, and to conduct a quality assurance review before distribution to ensure the labeling and packaging conforms with legal requirements. SB 311 allows distributors to transport cannabis to other distributors only after the products have undergone and passed testing.
SB 1294 (Bradford) Cannabis: state and local equity programs. Also known as the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018, SB 1294 requires the Bureau of Cannabis Control to administer an equity program that provides grants to eligible local jurisdictions seeking to assist local equity applicants and licensees. Governor Brown’s budget allocated $10 million for this purpose.
SB 1459 (Cannella) Cannabis: provisional license. SB 1459 authorizes California’s cannabis licensing authorities to issue a provisional license to applicants for cannabis licensure. The provisional license can only be issued to an applicant that (1) was issued a temporary license for the same premises and commercial operation that would be authorized by the provisional license; and (2) submitted a complete license application that demonstrates California Environmental Quality Act compliance review is underway. This bill was prompted because cannabis licensing authorities can longer issue temporary licenses beginning January 1, 2019, and resource-strapped local jurisdictions will be unable to process all the local permit applications to enable issuance of annual state licenses. The provisional license will be valid for 12 months from the date issued and cannot be renewed, and the license type can no longer be issued beginning January 1, 2020.