California Legislature Sends Sixteen Cannabis Bills to Governor Newsom

The California Legislature ended its legislative session on September 14 and sent sixteen (16) cannabis-related bills to Governor Newsom for signature, one of which, SB 756 (Laird) relating to inspections of unlicensed cannabis cultivation sites, has already been signed into law. Also sponsored by Senator Laird, SB 540 (Laird), would require the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to regularly evaluate regulations and determine the need for additional warning labels on cannabis products. SB 51 (Bradford) would extend provisional licensing programs for cannabis equity retail applicants and licensees, and SB 622 (Allen) would eliminate the requirement of single-use plastic tags on cannabis plants. SB 833 (McGuire) would establish a process for all cannabis cultivators to select a smaller license type or place their license in inactive status. AB 1126 (Lackey) would authorize the DCC and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, as well as peace officers to seize products that unlawfully bear the cannabis universal symbol and to impose civil penalties, and AB 1171 (Rubio) would give licensed cannabis businesses the ability to seek judicial relief against illicit operators by giving them standing in superior court. AB 374 (Haney) would allow non-cannabis food or beverage products, and tickets for live musical or other performances, all in cannabis consumption areas on premises, and SB 302 (Stern) would expand Ryan’s Law to allow patients over 65 years of age with a chronic disease to use medicinal cannabis within a health care facility. AB 1207 (Irwin), strongly opposed by the California Cannabis Industry Association, would prohibit the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of cannabis or cannabis products that are attractive to children, and SB 700 (Bradford) would make it unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis, clarifying the intent behind AB 2188 (2022), which was signed into law last year. AB 993 (B. Rubio) would expand meetings for state and local task force on cannabis regulation established by AB 195 (2022). AB 1448 (Wallis) would authorize local governments to assess an administrative penalty for illicit cannabis activity, and AB 1684 (Maienshein) would allow local jurisdictions to declare unlicensed commercial cannabis activity a public nuisance. SB 753 (Caballero) would provide that a person engaging in cultivation of cannabis that results in environmental harm to surface or groundwater may be charged with a felony, and AB 623 (Chen) would require the DCC to establish regulations to adjust testing variances for edible cannabis products that contain less than 5 milligrams of total THC. Governor Newsom has until October 14 to sign these measures into law.