California State Assemblyman, Travis Allen, and other legislators add to a barrage of bills, cottage grows, bong bans, and Tribal Lands Reservations.
Now comes the overkill season in the California State Legislature’s budding relationship with cannabis.
Months after passing landmark laws to regulate medical marijuana following nineteen years of indecision, the legislature is treating cannabis like almost every other commodity—chewing around the edges, looking for tax revenue, proposing legislation designed for public relations. That’s called progress in Sacramento.
As the 2016 session began, state Assembly and Senate members in Sacramento introduced twenty-one new bills to regulate cannabis commerce and consumption, plus a couple of bills designed to clean up language in laws passed in 2015.
Among the most far-reaching proposals is Assembly Bill 2169, authored by Travis Allen [R-Huntington Beach], which effectively would ban the sale of drug paraphernalia from pipes to propagation tools.
The bill’s language touches the entire industry. Among the potentially banned products are anything used for “planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing” a controlled substance into the human body.
Coincidentally, Travis Allen proposed the bill at the same time news media reported about a teen advocacy group protesting the sale of bongs and pipes at a San Diego shopping mall. Allen said he’s trying to fix a broken window in state law that allows young people to buy drug paraphernalia.
“This loophole in California’s drug laws needs to be closed immediately to save lives and protect our youth,” Travis Allen said.
A license category for cottage grows
Not all legislation is written to produce media sound bites. Some aim to increase state revenues. Assemblyman Jim Wood [D-Healdsburg] evidently believes small cannabis farmers should contribute their share to California’s coffers because he introduced AB 2516, which would create a “specialty cottage type” category in California’s new cannabis cultivation licensing program.
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act lists ten categories of cultivation licenses covering indoor, outdoor, and mixed-light grows of various sizes. One category encompasses small cultivators.
Growers with up to 2,500 square feet of canopy outdoors or 500 square feet indoors, with natural or supplemental light, would be required to obtain a Type 1C license.
Tribal cannabis raises questions
The unique relationship between California authorities and Native American tribal lands is constantly evolving—and fascinating. Sovereign tribes maintain a significant presence in Sacramento, thanks largely to their contributions to political campaigns. But one intersection needs some definition: cannabis.
Among the pile of newly introduced state legislation is Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s AB 2545, which announces the state’s intention to regulate cannabis grown on tribal lands for transportation and sale elsewhere.
The bill is a placeholder containing no details. The specifics will come later. It will be interesting to watch the maneuvering between tribes and state regulators as they address questions raised by tribal cannabis that migrates away from the farm.