This is the second issue in our 2017 California Cannabis Legislation Guide, an overview of California lawmaking during 2017. We will cover at least 46 pending items that may shape California cannabis legislation and how California regulates cannabis.
Today, we will address AB 238, AB 389, and AB 420, three of the twelve pending bills directed at cannabis licensing and regulation.
California Cannabis Legislation: Overview of Legislative Calendar
The last day to introduce legislation was February 17, 2017, and the legislature has until September 15, 2017, to pass bills. The governor ordinarily has 12 days to sign or veto bills passed by the legislature; for bills passed at the end of the legislative session, the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills may be as late as October 15, 2017.
AB-238 (Steinorth) – Medical cannabis: distributors: employment
This bill would prohibit holders of Type 11 distributor licenses from denying employment whether an individual is party to a collective bargaining agreement. The bill would also prohibit licensing authorities from denying applications for Type 11 licenses based on whether the applicant employs individuals who are parties to a collective bargaining agreement.
AB 389 (Salas, Caballero, and Ridley-Thomas) – Marijuana: consumer guide
This bill would require the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation to publish, by July 1, 2018, a consumer guide to educate the public on the regulation of medical and non-medical cannabis. The guide would cover at least the following:
- the difference between medical cannabis and non-medical cannabis;
- where consumers can legally purchase non-medical cannabis;
- rules on the public consumption of cannabis;
- how much cannabis may be purchased at one time;
- penalties for violating cannabis laws; and
- the process for reporting consumer concerns or complaints.
AB 420 (Wood) – Marijuana and medical cannabis: advertisements: license number disclosure
This bill would require cannabis advertisements to identify the MCRSA licensee (for medical cannabis) or the AUMA licensee (for recreational cannabis) responsible for the advertisement. This would apply to all forms of advertisements, including print, Internet, radio, television, and billboard ads.
The bill would also impose restrictions aimed at ensuring advertisements reach a primarily adult audience. Specifically, advertisers could only place ads where “at least 71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.” Furthermore, advertisers must conduct age verification before conducting any direct-to-individual marketing.
Finally, the bill would require advertising to be “truthful and appropriately substantiated.” The “appropriately substantiated” requirement appears to add a substantive layer to California’s false advertising law, which already prohibits ads that an advertiser knows (or reasonably should know) to be “untrue or misleading.”