Capitol Tracker: Lawmakers work on cannabis bills

There are dozens of proposed bills addressing cannabis working their way through the Legislature. Several are authored or sponsored by North Coast lawmakers.
There are dozens of proposed bills addressing cannabis working their way through the Legislature. Several are authored or sponsored by North Coast lawmakers. The Willits News

There are dozens of legislative proposals relating to cannabis under consideration this year. Many are sponsored or authored by North Coast lawmakers.

The proposals cover a wide range of marijuana-related issues, from closing loopholes in the voter-approved Proposition 64 to how pot taxes can be submitted.

Here are a few pot proposals to keep an eye on this year:

Cleanup of Proposition 64 >> Assemblyman Jim Wood co-authored AB 64, which clarifies some of the provisions of Proposition 64. “As the governor’s office begins to look at this initiative and (the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act) and people begin to dig through it, I think there is going to be a need for clarification,” Wood said in January. AB 64 attempts to do just that, by, among other provisions, specifying a licensed medical marijuana business or a collective can operate either for profit or as a nonprofit; specifying that a dispensary does not necessarily need to have a storefront as could be the case with a delivery service; prohibiting marijuana advertising on interstates and highways; authorizing the Secretary of State to issue trademarks for cannabis products; and loaning $3 million from the General Fund to the California Highway Patrol to research marijuana DUI detection. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on April 18 at 9 a.m.

County of origin >> State Sen. Mike McGuire introduced SB 175, which would regulate marketing and advertising of cannabis products. The bill would prohibit using the name of a county — or one that sounds like it — for a product unless the cannabis product originated in that specific county. SB 175 is set for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee at 10 a.m. on April 17.

License disclosure >> AB 420 would require that advertisements for the sale of medical or nonmedical cannabis products would need to identify the licensee responsible for the ad. The bill would apply to licenses issued under either the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on April 18 at 9 a.m.

Policing >> Wood is co-author of AB 1578, which would prevent local law enforcement from working with federal authorities to “investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity,” according to the bill’s text, absent a court order signed by a judge. The bill is set for a hearing in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 18 at 9 a.m.

Water code >> AB 1254, authored by Wood, would amend Fish and Game Code relating to controlled substances. The bill would change the existing code to make each day that an unpermitted water diversion occurs a separate violation. The bill would also impose larger fines for diverting natural resources. The bill is set for a hearing in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on April 25 at 9 a.m.

Tax collection >> AB 1410, a joint project between Wood and McGuire would allow a licensed distributor to remit taxes to the state Board of Equalization, which allows flexibility to the cultivator. The bill is supported by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, which wrote a letter of support for the legislation in March. “The bill provides for maximum flexibility to the cultivator,” the letter signed by Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Virginia Bass states. “If a cultivator chose to remit their tax cultivation obligations directly to the [Board of Equalization], the cultivator could do so. AB 1410 provides for a second option — giving cultivators the ability to allowing a licensed distributor to remit those tax obligations on their behalf.” The bill is set for a hearing in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on April 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.

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