California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed eight cannabis-related bills into law over the weekend in an effort to improve the state’s 2016 adult-use cannabis law and to help the legal industry better compete with a thriving illicit market.
A bill allowing cannabis businesses to claim state tax deductions was chief among the legislation that received Newsom’s approval, according to a Sacramento Bee report. The tax deductions “will play a vital role in leveling the playing field for legal cannabis businesses,” according to Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), who sponsored the legislation.
According to recent research from BDS Analytics, consumer spending in California’s legal cannabis market remains slower than anticipated due to the state’s current regulatory and tax climate. BDS Analytics’ report projected that California’s illicit market would still account for 53 percent of the state’s cannabis sales by 2024.
In addition to the bill allowing tax deductions, Newsom also signed a measure that allows cannabis retailers to donate products to low-income patients at no cost, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Yet another new law allows cannabis businesses to re-test their products to correct minor errors, the news outlet reported. Previously, products that failed lab testing for chemicals and contaminants had to be remediated or destroyed.
Newsom also signed a law that offers communities affected by the drug war additional opportunities to participate in the legal cannabis market, the Sacramento Bee reported. The law mandates that cannabis licensing authorities must develop and implement a need-based fee deferral or waiver program for equity applicants and licensees by 2021, according to the news outlet.
Other cannabis-related bills signed by Newsom include legislation allowing the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UC San Diego to cultivate cannabis for use in a scientific study; a bill allowing employees in the industry to unionize; legislation that reduces the size of the mandatory universal symbol for cannabis vape cartridges to one-quarter inch high by one-quarter inch wide (as opposed to the previous size of one-half inch by one-half inch); and a bill expanding a restriction on advertising claims regarding whether a product is from a certain California county or region, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Newsom vetoed legislation that would have allowed terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis on-site at healthcare facilities, according to the new outlet, citing conflicts between state and federal law and indicating that the bill would jeopardize the healthcare facilities’ ability to receive Medicare and Medicaid payments.