LEGISLATIVE NEWS: Employment Rights, Medical Marijuana Patients’ Rights and More

TAKE ACTION: 

Support Employment Rights for Cannabis Consumers in California

Allow Doctors to Treat Patients Who Use Medical Marijuana

Support Terminally Ill Patients’ Right to Use Cannabis

Support Local Access for Medical Marijuana Patients

 

UPCOMING HEARINGS

Monday, 4/18 – 10 AM Senate Business and Professions Committee
SB 1326 (Caballero) – interstate agreements

Monday, 4/18 – 10 AM Senate Appropriations Committee
SB 1097 (Pan) – Labeling – Oppose; amendments offered
SB 988 (Hueso) – Ryan’s law cleanup – Support
TAKE ACTION: Support Terminally Ill Patients’ Right to Use Cannabis

Tuesday, 4/19 – 9:00 AM Asm. Business & Professions Committee
AB 1885 (Kalra) Cannabis and cannabis products: animals: veterinary medicine– Support
AB 1954 (Quirk) – Pain Patients’ Rights SPONSOR
TAKE ACTION: Allow Doctors to Treat Patients Who Use Medical Marijuana

Tuesday, 4/19 9 PM Asm. Judiciary
AB 2421 (Blanca Rubio) – water, unlicensed cultivation
AB 2728 (Smith) – fines for 7 plants –  Oppose
AB 1690 (Rivas) – vape pens – Oppose unless amended (NEW BILL: AB 1894)

Wednesday, 4/20 – 9 AM Sen Governance and Finance
SB 1186 (Wiener) Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Right of Access Act (support)
TAKE ACTION: Support Local Access for Medical Marijuana Patients

Wednesday, 4/20 – 1:30 PM Asm. Labor
AB 2188 (Quirk) – employment rights  SPONSOR
TAKE ACTION: Support Employment Rights for Cannabis Consumers in California

Wednesday, 4/20 – 1:30 PM Asm. Gov. Org
AB 2210 (Quirk) – Temporary Licenses (Support)

Tuesday, 4/26 – 9:30 AM Asm. B & P
AB 2150 (Lackey) – research
AB 2691 (Wood) – event licensing (support)
AB 2792 (Blanca Rubio and Garcia) – Taxes
AB 2506 (Quirk & Lackey) – Taxes

Wednesday, 4/27 9 AM Senate Environmental Quality
SB 1148 (Laird) – CEQA exemption (support)

Tuesday, 5/3 – 9:30 AM Asm. B&P
DCC Oversight Hearing

 

Also see: Cal NORML-sponsored Legislation Would Protect Employees’ Right to Use Cannabis Off the Job

Quirk Bill Would Assert Right of Doctors to Prescribe Medication to Patients Using Medical Cannabis

Assembly Member Bill Quirk has introduced a bill (AB 1954) to protect the right of patients to medical treatment if they use medical marijuana, and the right of physicians and clinics to treat them. The bill is sponsored by CaNORML.

“Many physicians are under the mistaken impression that they can’t prescribe medication to patients who test positive for cannabis,” said Dale Gieringer, Director of CaNORML. The Quirk bill would clarify that physicians cannot be punished for treating patients who use medical cannabis, notwithstanding its illicit status under federal law.

Cal NORML regularly hears from patients who are terminated from pain management medications on account of their use of medical cannabis. An online survey with nearly 600 respondents shows that 18.5% have been denied prescription medications by a doctor due to their cannabis use.

A great many studies have shown cannabis is effective for pain, and can help patients reduce their use of opiates. Our survey shows that 24-30% of respondents have increased their use of opiates or other medications due to drug testing by their doctor or employer.

The California Medical Association House of Delegates adopted a resolution in 2019 condemning the automatic elimination of patients who use medicinal cannabis from pain management programs. AB 1954 would specify that a positive drug test for cannabis should not in itself be the sole basis for denying medical treatment to a patient absent a medically significant reason.

“It is irresponsible and unethical for pain management programs to eliminate patients who are using medical cannabis for their chronic pain, because there is conclusive scientific evidence that cannabis is a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain,” said Larry A. Bedard, a Marin-based physician who authored the CMA resolution.

“I’m so happy Asm. Quirk has taken this issue up for patients. We can’t wait any longer,” said Yami Bolanos, a patient and advocate from Los Angeles who was instrumental in the passage of AB 258 (Levine; 2015), ending discrimination against organ transplant patients who use cannabis in California.

The legislation is expected to face its first vote in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee in March. Californians can take action on AB 1954 by writing to their Assembly Members.

Bonta Bill Would Expedite Clearing of Past Marijuana Convictions

Cal NORML is also in support of AB 1706 (Bonta), a bill that provides urgently-needed solutions to the delayed implementation of our automatic marijuana record-sealing statute.

In 2018, we passed groundbreaking legislation that mandated the automatic sealing of cannabis criminal records for offenses that are no longer illegal. Authored by current Attorney General Rob Bonta, AB 1793 was a nation-leading step not just in cannabis reform, but also in criminal justice reform, and has been modeled in many states since. Its automatic process ensured that the individual with the eligible record would not have to petition the court for relief; rather, that relief would be automatically provided in light of the state’s repeal of cannabis prohibition.

Unfortunately, the implementation of AB 1793 has been inconsistent across the state. While some counties were proactive in implementing the legislation, others were not, and the statute lacks certain deadlines to ensure completion of the process. According to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, there are at least 34,000 cannabis-related records that still have not been fully processed by the courts.

These implementation gaps have created a system of justice by geography, and a solution is urgently needed. By adopting AB 1706, we can ensure that California finally lives up to our overdue promise to remove these erroneous criminal records and allow individuals criminalized by an unjust prohibition to move on with their lives. Please take tell your Assemblymember to support AB 1706. 

Other 2022 Legislation

Other bills Cal NORML is tracking in Sacramento this year:

OPPOSE: Asm. Thurston Smith of San Bernardino County has introduced AB 1725, to re-felonize the cultivation of more than six cannabis plants. “A showpiece for the Republican anti-pot narc constituency,” Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer told L.A. Weekly about the bill. “It would be struck down by the courts as violating Prop 64.” Another bill, AB-1599, would increase penalties for various drug crimes.

SUPPORT: AB 1014 (McCarty) addresses regulations for cannabis delivery vehicles and AB 1646 (Chen) would authorize cannabis beverages to be packaged in clear containers.

IN PROGRESS: AB 1646 (Aguiar Curry) is a clean-up bill on hemp. We have been in communication with the author and are watching the evolution of this bill. In addition, we’re expecting several cannabis tax reform proposals that we will be keeping our members posted on.

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