Bill to Protect Cannabis Deliveries Passes Committee

Sacramento, May 2nd – Senator Lara’s bill SB 1302 to disallow local bans on cannabis deliveries squeaked by the Senate Governance and Finance committee today on the understanding that further amendments will be needed to address opponents’ concerns.

The bill was sponsored by WeDrop and ASA, with strong support from Weed for Warriors (pictured) and pro-cannabis groups, including Cal NORML. Advocates stressed the lack of legally licensed facilities in most California cities and counties.

SB 1302 would disallow local governments from banning home deliveries of cannabis to residents in their district from state-licensed delivery services headquartered elsewhere. Patients’ advocates stressed the difficulty of getting medicine in the many areas with local dispensary bans.

SB 1302 was opposed by county and city governments, who complained that it limited their powers to regulate cannabusinesses, and by a coalition of LA-area business and labor groups who were worried about unfair competition from businesses established in jurisdictions with looser regulations. For example, SB 1302 would allow deliveries of adult-use cannabis even into jurisdictions that only allow medical dispensaries. UFCW wants the bill to take effect only in jurisdictions that have bans, or for medical patients only.

Cara Martinsen from CSAC (CA State Assn. of Counties) claimed that many of the 400+ cities and counties that have banned cannabis businesses are moving towards “meaningful public engagement” and licensing. Dan Carrigg of the League of Cities also testified that more places will “adjust their ordinances.” She also said that the allowance for locals to grow 6 plants on a parcel for personal use took care of their needs, misstating that locals may not regulate that activity (they may not ban it, but they can “reasonably regulate” it and many are requiring plants to be grown indoors in expensive ways).

Committee members worried that SB 1302 seemed to violate the stated intent of Prop 64 to give local governments tight control over cannabusinesses in their jurisdiction. At the same time, they expressed sympathy for the plight of patients living in the many areas where locally licensed providers of medical cannabis are lacking. (Not mentioned at the hearing was the fact that Prop 64’s local control language applies only to nonmedical cannabusinesses; medical cannabis is governed by Prop 215, whose stated intent is to assure “safe and affordable” access to Californians who need marijuana for medicine).

Sen. Lara (Long Beach) noted that Prop. 64 gives consumers the right to purchase and use cannabis statewide, which needs equal weight with local control. Sen. Beall (San Jose) said the legislature has a responsibility to clean up Prop. 64, as long as it’s in keeping with the intent of the measure. He moved to bring the bill to a vote. He and Senator Hernandez (LA) agreed to give the bill a courtesy vote, on the understanding that Lara would take further amendments. Sen. Lara voted in favor of his own bill, and Sen. Hertzberg (SF Valley) missed the hearing but added his aye vote to move the bill forward. Committee chair Sen. McGuire (N. Coast) abstained.

The next stop for SB 1302 will be the Appropriations Committee. After that a 2/3 majority will be required for approval by the full Senate (even though the local control sections of Prop. 64 only require a majority vote to change).

Watch a video of the hearing.

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