(It is a common column that delves into the difficult points surrounding California’s immense hashish market from the vantage level of Marijuana Enterprise Day by day Senior Reporter John Schroyer. Primarily based in Sacramento, he’s been writing in regards to the hashish trade since becoming a member of MJBizDaily in 2014.)
California lawmakers are virtually midway by way of the 2019 legislative session, and a number of payments that would 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 value watching as a result of they point out legislators are being conscious of MJ enterprise issues, trade watchers famous.
“I’m seeing, I believe, a reasonably appreciable sea change this yr versus prior years,” mentioned Amy Jenkins, chief lobbyist for the California Hashish Business Affiliation (CCIA), noting lawmakers are speaking significantly about points starting from decreasing hashish taxes to opening up extra retail alternatives.
“What I’m seeing is legislators for the primary time actually demonstrating that they perceive among the issues dealing with the trade.”
Hits and misses
One of many highlights that Jenkins and legislative advocate Max Mikalonis of Ok 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 kind 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 mentioned.
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 Might 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 mentioned 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 charge cost by candidates.
The full variety of expired hashish cultivation licenses since January stands at roughly 5,600, a CDFA spokeswoman mentioned.
One other measure that hit a roadblock is a tax discount invoice, AB 286. Nevertheless it’s one that would nonetheless find yourself a victory that marijuana entrepreneurs would possibly cheer.
In its unique kind, it could have quickly 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 is going to droop the cultivation tax solely till 2022.
Nevertheless, Jenkins identified that there’s motive to rejoice for the reason that invoice stays alive. She mentioned which means 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 in a position to resuscitate it and see it go 17-Zero, I believe once more demonstrates that the Legislature understands among the issues,” she mentioned.
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 could have been an excessive amount of of a tax income sacrifice to get sufficient assist from lawmakers. So, a compromise was struck to get at the least some state tax aid for the trade.
“There may be all the time hesitation in passing payments that would scale back California’s tax income,” Meeting Member Rob Bonta, the first sponsor of AB 286, wrote in an electronic mail to Marijuana Enterprise Day by 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 come back
The legislative session doesn’t adjourn till September, and loads may change in coming months on various payments, together with some that haven’t but made an look.
For example, the CCIA’s Jenkins famous rumblings about lawmakers probably including a complete marijuana coverage invoice to the state finances – maybe as quickly as this month.
“There are rumors of a trailer invoice that would come out that would embody some substantial coverage reforms,” Jenkins mentioned.
She additionally mentioned the 5 meeting members who obtained the state medical marijuana framework handed in 2015 – together with Bonta – are going to attempt to get $30 million in state funding for enforcement in opposition to unlicensed MJ operators.
Loads of hashish payments stay up within the air, together with a number of main trade priorities.
A kind of is AB 1356, a union-supported measure that will 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 at the least 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 obtained a majority of votes, however nonetheless nonetheless have business hashish bans in place.
So, AB 1356 may open up hundreds of recent 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 mentioned 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 could be reached at [email protected]