California turns to laws to clean up its marijuana image

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State lawmakers want to tighten marijuana rules to force the black market out of business

The Golden State continues to evolve its cannabis legislation in an effort to better serve the needs of its citizens. One of the biggest problems California faces is the illegal black market, which continues to be a billion-dollar industry. A new initiative is bringing a bill to the table that intends to table these issues from a different perspective and assign fines to those who allegedly cooperate and aid the illicit cannabis activity.

Assembly Bill 2122 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, and its focus is to target any business that would favor the development of the black cannabis market. In the current situation, the law assigns fines for up to three times the cost of getting a cannabis license with the government to any person that is caught participating in the illegal cannabis market. Now, this bill wants to set a $30,000 fine for each offense of those “aiding and abetting” this illegal activity. That figure can even increase depending on the business revenue. Taylor Woolfork, legislative director for Rubio, stated that this bill would include property managers or even billboard advertisers or “anyone directing business toward the unlicensed market and illegal operators.”

Rubio announced her bill and also declared that “California’s illicit cannabis industry accounts for nearly 75 percent of all cannabis sales in the state, enticing often unknowing consumers with seemingly harmless products at lower prices, but the danger lurks beneath the surface.” She added, “I introduced (Assembly Bill) 2122 to help the state hold illegal operators accountable and protect California consumers from the serious health risks found in the untested and unregulated products from the illicit market.”

Only last year, authorities confiscated over 24 tons of illicit cannabis in the Golden State, and, just in LA, over 10,000 cannabis vaping products were seized. Some of them contained the chemical responsible for the lung injuries reported last year.