This week, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a couple of bills that would make state cannabis businesses happy.
Helping minority cannabis entrepreneurs
The first bill has been hailed by cannabis supporters as a way to address the negative effects of the War on Drugs on the state’s minority communities.
Senator Steven Bradford sponsored Senate Bill 1294, which allows California’s local jurisdictions to apply for a grant to help cannabis entrepreneurs who belong to minority groups in a various ways. One of these is waiving their license fees and another is providing them technical assistance.
Local jurisdictions will apply for such grants to the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control.
Senate Bill 1294 also allocates $10 million to enable city governments to provide such assistance.
The American Civil Liberties Union of California and the United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council have praised the state for this new law.
According to UFCW Executive Director James Araby, when voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis retail sales, they had hoped that the new industry would be open, accessible, inclusive, and representative. He said that the new legislation will provide help to individuals who have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of marijuana.
The ACLU of California also released a supporting statement that said that the new law will ultimately reduce barriers to entry, as well as will ensure that all Californians will have a fair chance at succeeding in the burgeoning cannabis marketplace.
Approving temporary cannabis events
The second bill that Gov. Brown signed into law gives local jurisdictions the authority to allow temporary marijuana-related events.
AB 2020 was authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, who said that he recognizes a gap in pot licensing and permitting. According to Quirk, AB 2020 corrects this gap by allowing local jurisdictions grant temporary pot event licenses at any venue they want to permit.
Quirk said that the bill grants cities the power to decide on the venues where these temporary cannabis events can take place.
In a statement, Quirk said that marijuana events support small businesses and local economies. Despite the communal and fiscal benefits that these events bring to a local community, the state’s current laws prohibit city governments from approving applications for the sale of cannabis products at special events if such events are held in places other than county fair grounds.
However, in some counties, cannabis businesses have to travel hundreds of miles to get to the county fair ground. What’s more, the trip can take several hours, too.
Several local governments have shown interest in approving temporary events but they get frustrated by all the unnecessary hurdles in statute, Quirk added.
AB 2020 contains provisions that grant the Bureau of Cannabis Control, as well as law enforcement, the power to revoke a permit or to put an end to an event for any activity that is unlawful or that is not permitted.
Additionally, these temporary events must respect the local and state ordinances with regard to secondhand smoke.