California State Marijuana Laws

With the passage of Proposition 64 by California voters in November, 2016, recreational marijuana possession, cultivation, and use became legal for adults 21 years of age or older. Recreational cannabis legalization joined the state’s medical marijuana laws, which have been on the books since 1996.

Since the passage of Prop. 64, though, lawmakers have been struggling with ways to further regulate the marijuana industry in the state. A number of proposed bills are working their way through the California legislature. Referred to as “clean-up legislation”, these bills attempt to plug the holes that lawmakers felt were a part of the original 60+ page Prop. 64. Here are several of the legislative pieces currently in the proposal stage:

Assembly Bill 416 – this bill is designed to create a policy specific to cannabis products infused or bred with high levels of CBD, the cannabinoid responsible for many of the medical benefits associated with marijuana.

Assembly Bill 420 – this bill, proposed by Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, focuses on cannabis advertising. The proposal would require any ads for recreational or medical cannabis products to state clearly which sellers have a state-issued license. Each advertisement would require the seller’s license number to be printed or displayed as part of the ad itself.

Assembly Bill 350 – this bill was proposed as a result of lawmakers’ belief that the original Prop. 64 did not offer enough protection for children. In the bill currently working its way through committee, companies would be barred from producing cannabis products that appeal to children. This could include shapes, such as animals or fruits, commonly associated with traditional candy products. Companies would be permitted to produce products in the shape of their logo under the proposal.

Senate Bill 148 – because cannabis-related businesses have a tough time with banking and credit card services, this proposed bill would allow those businesses to pay any state taxes and fees in cash. Right now in the state of California, the overwhelming majority of marijuana businesses are cash-only. Company representatives must travel long distances with cash in order to pay fees to agencies. The bill would also allow those companies to make payments for other state agency licenses, taxes, and fees at the state tax collector, which would then distribute those payments to the correct agency on behalf of the payee.

Assembly Bill 389 – proposed by legislators from Bakersfield, Salinas, and the city of Los Angeles, this bill would require the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation to produce and distribute a marijuana consumer guide by July 1, 2018. This guide would be available on the state’s website and would include information about possession, cultivation, and use rules.

There are many more bill proposals on the local and state levels. As the marijuana industry gears up for recreational sales licensing in January, 2018, it will be interesting to track the ever-changing laws that govern the industry.

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