What is a Sanctuary State?

The California State Assembly recently approved a bill that would bar state and local law enforcement officers, absent of a court order, from helping federal drug agents in arresting people who are complying with state cannabis laws. According to an article published this month in the LA Times, California is moving closer to becoming a “sanctuary state” where local and state police would not assist federal enforcement of California marijuana laws.

With law enforcement opposed to the bill, the measure faced long odds and only achieved the bare majority 41-32 vote. The bill will now be sent to the State Senate for consideration.

Republican lawmakers were also against the idea, who said it would hamper the working relationship between California police officers and federal drug agents who might discover illegal activity involving marijuana sales even in a legal market.

Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer said he was open to revising the bill language to make it clear he wanted to allow cooperation between locals and federal agents in cases where state and federal marijuana laws were being violated.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), who co-wrote the bill, said the measure would reassure those who complied with California’s cannabis laws that they would not get in trouble.

Bonta said, “People who are compliant with California law and operate within the legal cannabis market should not have to fear that a state or local agency will participate in efforts to punish or incarcerate them for activity that the state and its voters have deemed legal.”

New Marijuana Laws

Have you heard about the new California cannabis bill that passed this summer? Senate Bill 94 or the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, otherwise known as MAUCRSA, has repealed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). This new bill does incorporate certain licensing provisions from MCRSA and Prop 64 (Adult use of Marijuana Act-AUMA).

According to Alison Malsbury, Cannabis Attorney who wrote on the CannaLawBlog.com, here are the 10 most important highlights of the bill:

1. The governing bureau will now be the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“the Bureau”).

2. The types of licenses available for commercial adult-use cannabis activity and commercial medicinal cannabis activity will be the same. The licenses available under both the MCRSA and the AUMA will continue to be available for both kinds of activity, and for specialty cottage cultivation licenses and microbusiness licenses, and, commencing on January 1, 2023, licenses for large outdoor, indoor, and mixed-light cultivation will also be available for both medicinal and adult-use cannabis activity.

3. Producing dispensary and transporter licenses will not be available.

4. Quality assurance, inspection, and testing requirements of cannabis and cannabis products prior to retail sale will change. Distributors will be required to store cannabis batches on their premises during testing, testing lab employees will be required to obtain samples for testing and transport those samples to testing labs, and distributors will be required to conduct a quality assurance review to ensure compliance with labeling and packing requirements, among other things.

5. Though the MCRSA limited the combinations of medicinal cannabis licenses a person may hold until January 1, 2026, the MAUCRSA will not apply these limits (other than that testing laboratory licensees are prohibited from obtaining licenses to engage in any other commercial cannabis activity);

6. The residency requirements of the AUMA are repealed. In other words, out of staters and even residents of other countries can freely participate.

7. Additional advertising requirements, including regulation of online advertising and the creation of a universal symbol for edible cannabis products will be implemented.

8. The cannabis excise tax will be measured by the average market price (as defined) of the retail sale, instead of by the gross receipts of the retail sale.

9. Applicants for cultivation licenses will need to identify the source of water supply.

10. The Bureau will no longer have the authority to regulate and control industrial hemp.

The above is only a rough summary of the new legislation. Check more informative articles!