Preliminary responses to our recent membership survey show that Cal NORML is on track with
our legislative priorities for 2020. Respondents voted their top three priorities as:
• 76% Lowering taxes on cannabis
• 63% Employment rights for medical patients
• 63% Opening local markets for marijuana businesses
There’s still time to take let us know what your priorities are! Click here to take the survey.
Asm. Rob Bonta has introduced AB 1978, which would would temporarily reduce the cannabis excise tax from 15% to 11% and suspend the cultivation tax until July 1, 2023. This will not only result in lowering the cost to cannabis consumers, it will help bolster the struggling legal marijuana market in CA that is competing against the unregulated, untaxed, and untested market. TAKE ACTION ON AB 1978.
A bill by Asm. Lackey, AB 3124, would eliminate the necessity for medical marijuana patients to get a state-issued ID card to get a sales tax exemption and would relieve the state of the responsibility for reimbursing local governments for lost tax revenue due to exemption.
EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA USERS
Asm. Bonta has also introduced AB 2355, a bill sponsored by California NORML that seeks to protect medical marijuana patients from employment discrimination in California. PLEASE TAKE ACTION ON AB 2355.
The bill would grant workers who use medical cannabis the same rights to reasonable accommodation as workers prescribed other legal drugs. It would not apply to workers like truck drivers and airline pilots who are required to be drug tested under federal law, and it would not permit any employees to be impaired or use marijuana on the job. Nineteen other states protect medical marijuana patients’ employment rights.
Asm. Phil Ting has introduced a bill, AB 2456, to develop a model local ordinance for cannabis businesses, in an effort to assist cities and counties in licensing.
Resistance to licensing at the local level has been a major stumbling block in implementing adult legalization in California, and unfortunately due to local control provisions in California law, court cases establishing locals’ rights to ban medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation, and provisions in Prop. 64 re-iterating the right to local control, it’s necessary to fight these battles city by city and county by county. Opposition is turning out to local planning commission, city counsel, and county supervisors’ meetings in the form of NIMBYism, reefer madness, and unwarranted concerns about public safety and health.
It’s important for cannabis advocates to track what is happening at their city and county level, advocate for licensed operators, and against those who oppose them. Consider joining a local NORML chapter or forming one.
OTHER STATE BILLS
Once more this year, a plethora of cannabis-related bills, mostly having to do with business, have been introduced at the state level, many of them with few details as of yet. We are watching about 4o such bills. Members can write here for a list of those bills.
Working with our national NORML office, Cal NORML is active in activating the California Congressional delegation in support of reform bills at the federal level. Two areas where positive movement is happening in the House are Veterans’ rights and Banking for cannabis businesses, plus the MORE Act for greater reform. Read more.