The following week, a key Assembly committee in California will look at a bill that would legalize the possession of psychedelics, set up the infrastructure for interstate marijuana commerce, stop local governments from banning medical cannabis delivery services, and require new labeling standards for cannabis products.
All four of those initiatives, as well as a long list of unrelated bills, were placed on hold by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. After the Senate passes the bills, they will go to the Assembly floor if the panel votes to approve them at a meeting the following week.
The panel’s lengthy meeting on Wednesday focused on hundreds of pieces of legislation; none of those proposals were considered, but the procedural development is excellent news for those who want to pursue reform this session. When they meet next week, lawmakers are more likely to discuss the suggestions.
Our bill to decriminalize possession & use of psychedelic drugs is facing its final committee hurdle next week. Thank you to the Sac Bee Editorial Board for supporting the bill with this thoughtful piece. @SacBeeEditBoard @sacbee_news https://t.co/6HeRsKUk9Y
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) August 3, 2022
The bills related to drug policy that will be discussed in the committee before possibly getting to the floor are broken down as follows:
Sen. Scott Wiener (D) has worked hard on legislation that would let persons 21 and older possess small amounts of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA. It has already been passed by the Senate and two Assembly committees, but it was put on hold last year so that the person who proposed it could get more support. The senator said the bill had a “50/50” chance of passing this year.
Adults 21 and older would be prohibited from possessing psilocybin, DMT, MDMA, and LSA.
If the Appropriations Committee releases the bill for floor consideration and it passes the whole house, it would still need Senate approval of Assembly revisions before reaching Governor Gavin Newsom’s (D) desk.
The idea has been controversial among people who are interested in psychedelics because it was changed to add restrictions on possession and taking out ketamine.
The state Department of Public Health would have to set up a working committee to “examine and recommend regulatory frameworks that California could use to promote safe and fair access to certain substances in legal contexts.”The deadline is January 1, 2024.
The Act would get rid of California’s ban on growing or transporting things like mushroom spores and mycelium that contain psilocybin.
The law initially had provisions for record sealing and resentencing for people convicted of psychedelics possession, but the sponsor removed those provisions at the bill’s final committee stop before the Senate vote.
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SB 1186 would stop local governments from making it illegal for patients or primary caregivers to get medical cannabis delivered.
More than half of the state’s cities and counties ban cannabis licensees, creating a regulatory hole that many say is fueling the criminal market. This law aims to increase patient access, but it could also help with the wider issue.
In May, state officials created an interactive map showing where marijuana businesses are legal and prohibited.
Newsom recently approved a budget package that includes a $20 million one-time grant program for regional retail licensing projects.
Marijuana Moment is tracking 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics, and drug policy initiatives in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patrons who give $25 per month can access our interactive maps, infographics, and hearing calendar.
Sen. Anna Caballero (D) requested that a bill be placed on the suspense file of the Appropriations Committee. If approved by Congress or by a Justice Department waiver, the bill would pave the way for interstate marijuana commerce from California to other states where it is legal.
A legislative analysis says that “the bill would make it illegal for an entity with a commercial cannabis license from another state to engage in commercial cannabis activity in this state without a state license or in a local jurisdiction without a local license, permit, or other authorization.”
The Alliance for Sensible Markets started a campaign to get advice on interstate cannabis trade from the governors of four states, including California.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) has said she will sign a measure in 2019 allowing marijuana imports and exports if federal law or policy allows it. The coronavirus outbreak blocked advocates from passing similar legislation in California last year.
Two members of Oregon’s congressional delegation submitted a bill that would allow similar operations and ban the Justice Department from interfering in states that have agreed to sell marijuana across state lines. Legislation stalled.
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The state Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) would have to “adopt regulations to require cannabis and cannabis product labels and inserts to include a clear and prominent warning regarding the risks that cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems, in addition to existing labeling requirements,” according to Sen. Richard Pan’s (D) legislation, which also made it to the suspense file on Wednesday.
Although California already has labeling laws for marijuana products, Pan’s plan would add new ones, which some business associations deem unnecessary.
Additionally, the proposal would require DCC to produce and distribute public informational brochures that “contain, among other things, the advice that beginning users start with lower doses and the risks of acquiring cannabis and cannabis-related products illegally.”
A Quick Overview of Recent Drug Policy Developments in California
Another bill that Wiener is supporting is moving forward and would establish a pilot program for safe drug consumption locations in particular Californian communities. This week, the bill received the support it needed to get to the governor’s desk.
More than $1.7 million in awards were given out by California officials last month to support sustainable marijuana cultivating practices and help farmers get their yearly licenses. The program, which was first announced in August 2021 and is still taking applications as of April 2023, will give out a total of $6 million.
In an effort to prevent marijuana businesses from “laboratory shopping” for facilities that are more likely to produce goods with greater THC content, regulators have also announced that they are seeking feedback on new standards to standardize cannabis testing procedures in the state.
Another batch of community reinvestment grants totaling $35.5 million is being given out by California officials in the meantime using tax money from legal marijuana sales.