Bill Aimed at Improving Access to Cannabis Across California Moves Forward

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Photo by office of assemblyman Phil Ting

On Tuesday, via a 12-8 vote, Assembly Bill 1356 moves forward which aims to improve access to cannabis across California.

Under the bill introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting, it will require local jurisdictions, where more than 50% of voters supported Proposition 64, to issue one cannabis retail license for every four onsite liquor consumption licenses.

On April 11 when the bill was introduced, Ting said:

“Californians voted for Prop. 64 to replace the illicit market with a legal system that would grant Californians safe access to cannabis products, while also creating good jobs and significant tax revenue,” said Assemblymember Ting, author of AB 1356. “However, these goals can only be fully realized if enough licenses are granted to meet existing demand. This bill will ensure the legal market can succeed.”

“When California voters supported Prop. 64 they made clear the importance of access to cannabis products. For many, including seniors, veterans, young people with childhood maladies and individuals with disabilities, cannabis serves an important medical purpose. Many cities and counties are currently not providing this access to their medically challenged constituents, even when a majority of their constituents voted for Prop. 64. Banning and limiting access to cannabis in these jurisdictions only fuels the illicit market in our state,” said Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles). “I am proud to co-author AB 1356 (Ting), a measure that will ensure local governments respect the will of the voters by increasing access to safe cannabis products from the legal cannabis market.”

Nearly two and a half years after the passage of Prop. 64, and a year and half after the introduction of the California legal retail cannabis market, approximately 76% of California cities and counties have banned cannabis retail businesses.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1356, as amended, Ting. Cannabis: licensing authorities: annual reports. Cannabis: local jurisdictions: retail commercial cannabis activity.
The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 (AUMA), an initiative measure approved as Proposition 64 at the November 8, 2016, statewide general election, authorizes a person who obtains a state license under AUMA to engage in commercial adult-use cannabis activity pursuant to that license and applicable local ordinances. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activities, including retail commercial cannabis activity. MAUCRSA gives the Bureau of Cannabis Control in the Department of Consumer Affairs the power, duty, purpose, responsibility, and jurisdiction to regulate commercial cannabis activity in the state as provided by the act. MAUCRSA does not supersede or limit the authority of a local jurisdiction to adopt and enforce local ordinances to regulate commercial cannabis businesses within that local jurisdiction.
This bill, if more than 50% of the electorate of a local jurisdiction voted in favor of AUMA, would require a local jurisdiction to issue a minimum number of local licenses authorizing adult-use or medicinal retail cannabis commercial activity within that jurisdiction that would be permitted by a retailer license issued under MAUCRSA. The bill would require the minimum number of those local licenses required to be issued in that jurisdiction to be 25% of the number of currently active on-sale general licenses for alcoholic beverage sales in that jurisdiction, as specified, unless the minimum number would result in a ratio greater than one local license for retail cannabis commercial activity for every 10,000 residents of the local jurisdiction, in which case the bill would require the minium number to be determined by dividing the number of residents in the local jurisdiction by 10,000 and rounding down to the nearest whole number. The bill would authorize a local jurisdiction to impose a fee on licensees to cover the regulatory costs of issuing those local licenses.
This bill would allow any local jurisdiction subject to the requirements of this bill that wants to establish a lower amount of these local licenses to submit an ordinance or other law, that clearly specifies the level of participation in the retail commercial cannabis market it would allow, to the electorate of that local jurisdiction at the next regularly scheduled local election following the operative date of this bill. The bill would provide that the local ordinance or other local law becomes effective if approved by more than 50% of its electorate. The bill would require the local jurisdiction to issue those licenses as otherwise required by this bill within a specified period of time if a local jurisdiction subject to the requirements of this bill does not submit a local ordinance or other local law regarding the lower amount of licenses to the electorate, or that local ordinance or other local law fails to receive more than 50% of the approval of the electorate voting on the issue. By imposing additional requirements on local jurisdictions the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
AUMA authorizes the Legislature to amend its provisions with a 2/3 vote of both houses to further its purposes and intent.
This bill would declare that its provisions further the purposes and intent of AUMA.

The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), an initiative measure approved as Proposition 64 at the November 8, 2016, statewide general election, authorizes a person who obtains a state license under AUMA to engage in commercial adult-use cannabis activity pursuant to that license and applicable local ordinances. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activities.

MAUCRSA imposes duties on the Bureau of Cannabis Control in the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the State Department of Public Health with respect to the creation, issuation, denial, suspension, and revocation of licenses issued pursuant to MAUCRSA. MAUCRSA, beginning on March 1, 2023, and on or before March 1 of each year thereafter, requires each licensing authority to prepare and submit to the Legislature an annual report, containing specified information, on the authority’s activities and post the report on the authority’s internet website.

This bill would delay the requirement of that report until March 30, 2023, and on and before March 30 of each year thereafter.

AUMA authorizes the Legislature to amend the act to further the purposes and intent of the act with a 23 vote of the membership of both houses of the Legislature, except as provided.

This bill would declare that its provisions further specified purposes and intent of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Digest Key

Vote: 2/3  Appropriation: NO  Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  


10 COMMENTS

    • Agreed. Finally there could be safe, legal access to cannabis in CA. Local governments don’t want to do their job and license these legal cannabis retail even when it means denying patients access to cannabis they need to treat their health conditions. Local governments that don’t license legal cannabis retailers are endorsing the operation of illegal cannabis retailers that already exist in their communities. If local governments can’t figure out how to do their jobs on this they shouldn’t expect anything short of the state making them do it.

  1. Yeah! Let’s do it! Let’s let everyone have access to MIND ALTERING drugs! Like alcohol isn’t enough! The dope stays in your system for a very long [email protected] Way to go! Like we don’t already have enough STRENCH around this state!

  2. This is just to force Cannabis sales to increase tax revenue. CA state again acts like dictators. By people’s vote, directly or indirectly, Cannabis is illegal on federal level, legal on state level, and illegal in some communities. Let the communities decide on their own! What CA does is like if the feds would enforce their law in CA.

  3. Who are those two people on the extreme right in that photo? He looks like he’s pregnant and she must have a size 78 waistline! What total slobs! See what smoking “recreational” dope will do to you?

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