A Review Of California's 2019 Legislative Session: What Are The New Cannabis Laws? (UPDATED)

California’s 2019 legislative session closed on September 13, 2019. In addition to the three (3) new laws from this session, there are eleven (11) bills that will be presented to Governor Newsom for his signature before October 13, 2019, or they will automatically become law.

So, what is the status of the cannabis and hemp-related bills from 2019? We have analyzed over forty (40) cannabis and hemp-related bills that were introduced during the 2019 legislative session. Below we provide a high-level status for the bills, a summary of the impact and next steps for those that have successfully made it through the process.

  • New Laws: Governor Newsom has signed three (3) new laws related that, among other things, establish an organic cannabis program and establish cannabis and hemp as agricultural commodities.

  • Bills Passed by the California Legislature: There are eleven (11) bills that are waiting to be presented to the Governor to be signed into law or vetoed by October 13, 2019. One bill will allow individuals to deduct cannabis business-related expenses from personal taxes in California.

  • Bills Close to the Finish Line (Did Not Pass): Two (2) bills must pass the third reading by September 13, 2019 in order to be presented to the Governor including a bill requiring the disclosure of licensee disciplinary information.

  • Bills Rendered Inactive or in Committee: Twenty-five (25) bills will not be moving forward as they have been rendered inactive or are in a committee including AB-228 Food, beverage, and cosmetic adulterants: industrial hemp products.

New Laws

  • AB-97 Cannabis. (07/01/2019) Various changes to cannabis regulations including establishing a fine structure that a $5,000 per violation for licensees and $30,000 per violation for an unlicensed person, per day, and requires the state to establish an organic certification program for cannabis no later than July 1, 2021.

  • SB-657 Cannabis cultivation: county agricultural commissioners: reporting. (09/05/2019) Requires the county agricultural commissioner to report to the secretary of state the total acreage, production of value of cannabis produced in the commissioner’s county.

  • SB-527 Local government: Williamson Act: cultivation of cannabis and hemp. (09/06/2019) Includes cannabis and hemp in the definition of an agricultural commodity that qualifies as an appropriate use in an agricultural preserve.

Bills Passed by the California Legislature (Bills waiting to be engrossed or presented to the Governor)

  • AB-37: Personal income taxes: deductions: business expenses: commercial cannabis activity. (09/09/2019) The bill allows individuals to deduct cannabis business expenses from personal tax liabilities under the California Tax Code. Governor Brown vetoed a similar bill last year due to the fiscal impact, which is estimated to be tens of millions of dollars a year.

  • AB-397 Vehicles: driving under the influence. (09/09/2019) Requires state courts to indicate that a driver was under the influence of cannabis when convicted for driving under the influence by January 1, 2022. Governor Brown vetoed a similar bill last year due to the costs associated with retrofitting state technology.

  • AB-404 Commercial cannabis activity: testing laboratories. The bill allows independent testing facilities to amend a certificate of analysis to correct minor errors. The bill also allows the testing facility to retest samples due to equipment malfunction or employee errors after receiving approval from the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

  • AB-420 The California Cannabis Research Program. (09/09/2019) Authorizes the cultivation of cannabis pursuant to federal and state laws by the University of California San Diego Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to study the effects of cannabis, cannabinoids and other related constituents.

  • AB-858 Cannabis: cultivation. (09/09/2019) Amend the Type 1C outdoor cultivation licenses to permit a maximum of 2,500 or fewer feet of canopy size or up to 25 mature plants.

  • AB-1291 Adult-use cannabis and medicinal cannabis: license application: labor peace agreements. (09/09/2019) The bill requires applicants for a medical or adult-use cannabis license to provide a notarized statement that it will enter into a labor peace agreement if the entity employs 20 or more persons or applicants must provide a notarized statement agreeing to abide by the terms of a labor peace agreement within 60 days of hiring the 20th employee.

  • SB-34 Cannabis: donations. Assembly-In Floor Process-Third Reading. (Scheduled 09/10/2019) The bill permits cannabis retailers to provide free medical cannabis to patients and caregivers under certain circumstances.

  • SB-153 Industrial hemp. Assembly-In Floor Process-Third Reading. (Scheduled 09/10/2019)The bill aligns the existing industrial hemp law to the state plan that California will submit to the USDA by May 1, 2020. The bill also requires county agricultural commissioners to perform additional responsibilities including enforcement.

  • SB-185 Cannabis: marketing. Assembly-In Floor Process-Third Reading (Scheduled 09/10/2019). The bill will only be enacted if SB-34 is enacted. The bill prohibits cultivators from misrepresenting the county where cannabis was grown.

  • SB-223 Pupil health: administration of medicinal cannabis: schoolsites. (09/06/2019) Permits a school nurse or other school administrator to provide a student with medical cannabis in accordance with written instructions provided by a doctor.

  • SB-595 Cannabis: state licensing fee waivers: needs-based applicants and licensees: local equity applicants and licensees. Assembly-In Floor Process-Third Reading. (Scheduled 09/10/2019)The bill provides a waiver or deferral of licensing or renewal fees for needs-based applicants.

Bills Close to the Finish Line (Did Not Pass)

  • AB-545 Cannabis: Bureau of Cannabis Control. Senate-In Floor Process-Third Reading. The bill requires the Joint Sunset Review Committee to perform a review as if the MAUCRSA was repealed as of January 1, 2023.

  • SB-581 Cannabis: licensing: public records. Assembly-In Floor Process-Third Reading. (Scheduled 09/10/2019) The bill requires regulators to make information about licensees publicly available including disciplinary information.

Bills Rendered Inactive

  • SB-51 Financial institutions: cannabis. (09/09/2019) - The bill created the Cannabis Limited Charter Banking and Credit Union Law to provide banking services to cannabis businesses.

  • SB-625 Party buses: cannabis. (09/05/2019) The bill required cannabis party buses to install a sealed off compartment for the driver that contained a ventilation system.

  • AB-1356 Cannabis: local jurisdictions: retail commercial cannabis activity. (05/30/2019) Required local municipalities to permit a specific number of retail cannabis establishments based on the voter's support of Proposition 64.

Bills in the Appropriations Committee (Bills will not be presented to the floor for a vote)

  • AB-228 Food, beverage, and cosmetic adulterants: industrial hemp products.

  • AB-286 Taxation: cannabis.

  • AB-1288 Cannabis: track and trace.

  • AB-1417 Cannabis advertisement and marketing.

  • AB-1420 Cannabis: licensing fees.

  • AB-1465 Cannabis: consumption cafe/lounge license.

  • SB-475 Cannabis: trade samples.

  • SB-658 Cannabis: licensing: cannabis retail business emblem: track and trace.

  • SB-627 Cannabis and cannabis products: medicinal use on an animal: veterinary medicine.

Bills in Other Committees (Committees ceased meeting as of September 3, 2019)

  • AB-953 Cannabis: state and local taxes: payment by digital asset.

  • AB-1458 Cannabis testing laboratories.Assembly-In Committee Process-Business and Professions

  • AB-1461 Cannabis: testing laboratories.Assembly-In Committee Process-Business and Professions

  • AB-1470 Cannabis testing.Assembly-In Committee Process-Business and Professions

  • AB-1529 Cannabis vaporizing cartridges: universal symbol.Assembly-In Committee Process-Business and Professions

  • AB-1530 Unauthorized cannabis activity reduction grants: local jurisdiction restrictions on cannabis delivery.Assembly-In Committee Process-Business and Professions

  • AB-1569 Sales and use tax: medicinal cannabis: veterans.Assembly-In Committee Process-Revenue and Taxation

  • AB-1678 Indoor-Grown Cannabis Commission.Assembly-In Committee Process-Agriculture

  • AB-1710 Cannabis.Senate-In Committee Process-Business, Professions and Economic Development

  • SB-67 Cannabis: temporary licenses.Assembly-In Committee Process-Business and Professions

  • SB-97 Cannabis.Assembly-In Committee Process-Budget

  • SB-684 Traffic safety: driving under the influence of cannabis pilot program.Senate-In Committee Process-Public Safety

  • SJR-10 Cannabis: federal schedules.Senate-In Committee Process-Public Safety