Reports are coming in that California lawmakers have reached an agreement on laws to regulate the medical cannabis industry. At midnight on Friday, September 11th, California’s legislative session will come to an end. At this time, it appears that California lawmakers will be able to present amended bills to the Governor’s desk, a goal that had been set earlier this year at the beginning of the legislative session.
While the final language of the three bills (AB 266, AB 243, SB 643) has yet to be made public, many people close to the situation anticipate that the new regulations for medical cannabis will reflect the language that was present in the three bills before they were gutted and amended on September 1st. There are still a few more milestones for these bills to be implemented, but the rush of positive reports makes it appear very likely that the Senate and the Assembly will agree on language that will be submitted to the Governor’s desk by midnight.
Discussing California’s Medical Cannabis Program
Smoke Reports has been following the activity surrounding these three bills for months. Many expect that California, the world’s longest standing medical cannabis program, will set the bar for future regulatory structures as cannabis is legalized across the country. We will update this article if and when the bills reach the Governor’s desk for approval.
All three of the bills carry similar language and envision a similar structure, but in late August the Governor’s office decided that the language was too complicated and disjointed. In an effort to consolidate and simplify, legislators took the final discussions behind closed doors, worrying cannabis advocates and industry members who have been diligently providing input for the last two years. Policymakers insist that the potential laws will reflect the spirit of all of their requests, and be set up to serve a broad industry, unlike Ohio’s proposed law which would create a cannabis oligopoly.
Potential Regulations Up for Approval in Sacramento
While this is unofficial, many of the core pieces of the legislation have remained throughout discussions:
- Required business licensing: business would be required to apply for individual licenses to cultivate, transport, manufacture, test, and distribute cannabis flowers and products. (SB 643, Article 6, Sec. 122 D)
- Potential limit of two licenses per company: businesses would only be permitted two licenses, thus eliminating the potential for an all-inclusive cannabis company. (SB 643, Art. 5 Sec. 177 A & Art. 8 Sec. 125 A)
- Create a system for organic certification: under federal law, cannabis cultivation cannot be deemed “organic,” even though some growers go to great lengths to cultivate using organic methods. (SB 643, Art. 7, Sec 124)
- Laboratory testing requirements: all products must be submitted to a certified testing facility to undergo potency and safety tests. The terms of the future testing requirements are unclear, and varied between the different bills. (SB 643, Art. 10)
- Cultivation limits: statewide limits will be established for indoor and outdoor cultivation. (SB 643, Art. 6, Sec. 122 D)
- Delivery services prohibited unless expressly permitted by local ordinance (SB 643, Art 9.5, Sec. 133)
- Cannabis properly labeled by geographic origin (SB 643, Art. 7)
- Local ordinances against commercial activity would be permitted (SB 643, Art. 3, Sec. 104 C)
Please note that all of these provisions are from the text of SB 643 prior to amendments published on Sept. 1
Updates of California Medical Regulations
This event is unfolding by the minute, and while the deadline is midnight, reports seem to propose the possibility of an earlier approval. Our team at Smoke Reports will be following this historic event closely, and will provide updates along with an overview of the final bills once they are made public.
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