(This can be a common column that delves into the difficult points surrounding California’s immense hashish market from the vantage level of Marijuana Enterprise Every day Senior Reporter John Schroyer. Primarily based in Sacramento, he’s been writing concerning the hashish trade since becoming a member of MJBizDaily in 2014.)
California lawmakers are nearly midway by the 2019 legislative session, and a number of payments that might have a huge impact on the marijuana trade stay alive and kicking.
It’s removed from sure that lawmakers will log off on any measures hashish companies assist. However a number of are price watching as a result of they point out legislators are being conscious of MJ enterprise considerations, trade watchers famous.
“I’m seeing, I believe, a fairly appreciable sea change this yr versus prior years,” stated Amy Jenkins, chief lobbyist for the California Hashish Trade Affiliation (CCIA), noting lawmakers are speaking severely about points starting from lowering hashish taxes to opening up extra retail alternatives.
“What I’m seeing is legislators for the primary time actually demonstrating that they perceive a number of the considerations going through the trade.”
Hits and misses
One of many highlights that Jenkins and legislative advocate Max Mikalonis of Okay Avenue Consulting level to is the fast demise of Meeting Invoice 1530 by the hands of a legislative committee.
If it had change into legislation, the invoice would have overturned a comparatively younger coverage of permitting MJ firms to ship merchandise wherever within the state no matter native marijuana enterprise bans. The League of California Cities strongly supported the measure.
“It was type of a watershed second – of trade beating native authorities and legislation enforcement within the first coverage committee – the primary time it got here up for a vote,” Mikalonis stated.
However setbacks have occurred as effectively.
It handed the state Senate rapidly however stalled within the Meeting within the first week of April.
Nevertheless, on Could 6, the invoice was lastly referred to 2 committees: Agriculture, and Enterprise and Professions.
Sen. Mike McGuire, a northern California Democrat who’s sponsoring SB 67, has praised the California Division of Meals and Agriculture (CDFA) for issuing over 1,000 provisional or annual licenses in current months.
He stated the company has “stepped up large” in serving to the state’s marijuana provide chain stay purposeful.
As of April 29, the CDFA had issued 116 annual cultivation permits and 890 provisional licenses, with one other 411 pending price fee by candidates.
The whole variety of expired hashish cultivation licenses since January stands at roughly 5,600, a CDFA spokeswoman stated.
One other measure that hit a roadblock is a tax discount invoice, AB 286. However it’s one that might nonetheless find yourself a victory that marijuana entrepreneurs would possibly cheer.
In its authentic kind, it might have briefly lowered the state hashish excise tax from 15% to 11% and suspended the cultivation tax for 3 years.
However the invoice was amended to take away the excise tax drop. Which means if it will get to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, it can droop the cultivation tax solely till 2022.
Nevertheless, Jenkins identified that there’s motive to have fun for the reason that invoice stays alive. She stated meaning the trade as an entire is making political progress.
“The truth that that invoice was lifeless on arrival previous to that committee, and we have been capable of resuscitate it and see it go 17-Zero, I believe once more demonstrates that the Legislature understands a number of the considerations,” she stated.
AB 286 handed the Enterprise and Professions Committee by a 16-1 vote and the Income and Taxation Committee by a 10-1 vote. It’s now within the Appropriations Committee.
As for why lawmakers eliminated the excise tax discount, the political actuality is it might have been an excessive amount of of a tax income sacrifice to get sufficient assist from lawmakers. So, a compromise was struck to get a minimum of some state tax reduction for the trade.
“There may be at all times hesitation in passing payments that might scale back California’s tax income,” Meeting Member Rob Bonta, the first sponsor of AB 286, wrote in an electronic mail to Marijuana Enterprise Every day.
“Nevertheless, we imagine the proposed amendments will nonetheless hit our goal of preventing the illicit market and serving to licensed companies thrive and survive.”
Extra motion to return
The legislative session doesn’t adjourn till September, and loads might change in coming months on quite a few payments, together with some that haven’t but made an look.
As an illustration, the CCIA’s Jenkins famous rumblings about lawmakers probably including a complete marijuana coverage invoice to the state price range – maybe as quickly as this month.
“There are rumors of a trailer invoice that might come out that might embody some substantial coverage reforms,” Jenkins stated.
She additionally stated the 5 meeting members who received the state medical marijuana framework handed in 2015 – together with Bonta – are going to attempt to get $30 million in state funding for enforcement towards unlicensed MJ operators.
Loads of hashish payments stay up within the air, together with a number of main trade priorities.
A type of is AB 1356, a union-supported measure that may require any metropolis or county the place Proposition 64 handed with a majority vote to permit hashish retailers. (Prop 64 legalized adult-use hashish within the state in 2016.)
As written, the invoice would require jurisdictions the place Prop 64 handed to allow a minimum of one MJ retailer for each 4 liquor shops, or one hashish retailer for each 10,000 residents, whichever is much less.
Based on an evaluation by the workplace of sponsor Meeting Member Phil Ting, there are 255 municipalities and 21 counties the place Prop 64 received a majority of votes, however nonetheless nonetheless have industrial hashish bans in place.
So, AB 1356 might open up hundreds of latest marijuana retail alternatives.
However Jenkins acknowledged the invoice is a “heavy political carry,” particularly because it requires a two-thirds majority in each chambers to go.
Mikalonis stated he doesn’t imagine it has as a lot assist as AB 286, the tax discount invoice.
Nevertheless, each stay hopeful.
(Click on right here to learn the earlier installment of this ongoing column.)
John Schroyer will be reached at [email protected]