California cannabis legislation sees good, bad news

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The state advances on some cannabis issues, but stalls on others

During the latest legislative session in California that closed this week, cannabis legislation is getting a few upgrades. However, out of all the proposals that were brought to the session, not all of them had a good result, such as a contested proposal to regulate hemp and cannabidiol (CBD). On a positive note, lawmakers did approve changes to reform marijuana taxes, expand the access the industry has to bank services and the launch of a state-regulated appellation program that has the goal to help authorities identify where cannabis is being grown.

These reforms to cannabis legislation were not decided until the very end of Monday’s session, and they are now heading to Governor Gavin Newson’s desk for the final signature. Once signed, the nation’s most dynamic marijuana market will start its next phase towards progress. However, for some cannabis advocates, the changes that were achieved are more modest than they expected to be at the beginning of the year, according to Amy Jenkins, a lobbyist and senior policy director for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA).

“We at CCIA were looking at this as a potentially transformative year,” she told Marijuana Moment in an interview on Tuesday. “All of that really came to a halt in March, with the COVID pandemic and need to essentially shelter in place and mostly shut down business as usual.” For Jenkins, the biggest accomplishment that the cannabis industry has had during this 2020 is not even related to the current legislature. She referred to the major progress made, amid the coronavirus pandemic, as authorities deemed the industry essential and allowed it to continue operating. “Really progressive areas, like San Francisco, were poised to shut down,” she said. “I think a lot of people discount the significance of that.”