California’s 2019 legislative session drew to an in depth earlier this month, and it was a lackluster 12 months for hashish enterprise priorities, watchers famous, with no victories on points resembling tax aid, banking or the opening of extra jurisdictions for enterprise licensing.
“It’s a blended bag,” Amy Jenkins, chief lobbyist for the California Hashish Business Affiliation (CCIA), stated when requested for her high-level view of how the session went for hashish corporations.
“We weren’t as profitable as we needed to be this 12 months,” Jenkins added, reflecting on how California lawmakers took up over 60 cannabis-related payments because the session started in January.
“Whereas we loved some very vital successes – with the defeat of (AB) 1530, with the addition of funding for social fairness and enforcement – these had been all very constructive issues, a number of the overarching enterprise points nonetheless must be addressed,” Jenkins stated.
Solely two main legislative wins had been within the CCIA column for 2019, though six extra industry-centered payments are awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
The 2 wins included:
- Meeting Invoice 97, a funds trailer invoice that fastened a critical marijuana enterprise licensing problem, delivered extra funding for social fairness packages and upped enforcement instruments for regulators towards the illicit MJ market.
- The defeat of Meeting Invoice 1530, which might have overturned a coverage permitting for hashish product supply wherever within the state no matter metropolis or county hashish bans.
The opposite payments of curiosity to marijuana companies within the state which have handed and are awaiting Newsom’s signature or veto embrace the next:
- Meeting Invoice 37 would assist offset the federal 280E tax burden by making a carve-out for enterprise deductions in California’s private revenue tax for state-licensed hashish firms.
- Meeting Invoice 858 would make clear some necessities for cottage growers with a most sq. footage of two,500 sq. ft of cover.
- Meeting Invoice 1291 would strengthen an present labor-related requirement for MJ companies with 20 or extra staff. The businesses are already mandated to enter into labor peace agreements, and the invoice would require a notarized assertion of intent to enter into such pacts.
- Meeting Invoice 1529 would require the brand new addition of a quarter-inch-by-quarter-inch common image for all hashish vaporizer cartridges.
- Senate Invoice 34 would resurrect so-called “compassion packages” that permit marijuana retailers to provide away merchandise to medical sufferers that meet sure standards, a standard observe till new laws went into impact in 2018.
- Senate Invoice 595 would waive license software charges for certified social fairness entrepreneurs – one other transfer to empower extra minorities to become involved within the .
Business evaluation of the session
“I might be extra disillusioned aside from the truth that we do have commitments from the (Newsom) administration to proceed to work via these points that CCIA deems to be very vital priorities for the ,” Jenkins stated.
She stated there’s not a lot readability but as to which of the six payments Newsom might signal or veto, however she’s hopeful that AB 1529 specifically can have the governor’s backing, partially as a result of it’ll assist differentiate lab-tested authorized merchandise from illicit vape cartridges, because the latter could also be contributing to the latest vaping sickness epidemic.
“I do know that producers that make vaping merchandise are very anxious for that to be signed, to allow them to start automating the method of making use of these symbols. Proper now, they’re hand-stickering, which may be very time-consuming and dear,” Jenkins stated.
SB 34, the compassion program invoice, is one other many watchers predict Newsom to assist.
A parallel invoice was handed by the legislature final 12 months however vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.
There have been a number of areas this 12 months through which lobbying efforts fell quick, resembling with AB 286 – a state MJ tax discount invoice that was a repeat of a 2018 invoice, which went nowhere.
A legislative try to pressure extra cities and counties to open their borders to hashish retailers, AB 1356, equally was a non-starter.
Even a reasonably easy enterprise invoice that seemed to be virtually a positive win – SB 475, to permit marijuana firms to share commerce samples of product with one another freed from value and which appeared on observe as of August – wound up failing.
Maybe one of many extra formidable measures, SB 51, to begin a state-chartered banking system for marijuana firms, managed to hold on till the final week of the session till its writer shelved it till subsequent 12 months, promising to revive the difficulty come January.
Banking isn’t the one MJ enterprise problem that will likely be again come 2020, Jenkins predicted.
“I believe subsequent 12 months goes to be a very, actually vital 12 months. In truth my expectation is that it will likely be busier than this 12 months,” she stated.
A key occasion coming later this 12 months, Jenkins stated, would be the launch of a Legislative Analyst’s Workplace (LAO) report on state marijuana taxes, which may embrace suggestions for decreasing taxes on the , she stated.
“The LAO report goes to be very, very essential. So we’re looking ahead to that,” Jenkins stated.
Even when it doesn’t suggest what insiders hope it’ll, tax discount is an “inevitable” problem that will likely be introduced again to lawmakers, Jenkins stated, as a result of the illicit market continues to be crushing authorized operators on aggressive pricing and economically it’s one of the best ways to struggle unlawful operators.
Jenkins ran via a laundry record of points but to be tackled by lawmakers, which she expects in 2020 will embrace:
- Additional hemp laws.
- Bolstering enforcement towards the illicit market.
- Commerce samples.
- Lab testing reforms.
- Sustainable or recyclable single-use packaging.
- Good manufacturing processes, significantly for vaporizer cartridges (a invoice to that in impact has already been launched).
“One of many encouraging indicators is there’s a dedication to work with (the MJ ),” Jenkins stated.
“We’re going to carry the administration to that, and attempt to tackle a few of these different broader points for the in 2020.”
John Schroyer will be reached at [email protected]