CALIFORNIA – Lawmakers in California have approved a series of significant cannabis bills, leaving the fate of these measures in the hands of Governor Gavin Newsom, who must decide whether to sign or veto them by October 14th.
According to a report by MJBizDaily, Senate Bill 51, sponsored by Senator Steven Brandford, seeks to aid social equity operators by extending provisional licenses for up to five years, addressing challenges faced by many businesses in obtaining annual licenses.
“Failure to sign this crucial legislation would deal a devastating blow to California’s cannabis equity program, particularly in Los Angeles County,” said Kika Keith, a Black social equity applicant and licensee who invested years of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch Gorilla X Wellness in South Los Angeles.
Additionally, Assembly Bill 374, introduced by Assembly Member Matt Haney, could revolutionize the industry by allowing marijuana retailers to operate kitchens and host events, potentially creating new revenue streams.
“It was my dream when Prop 64 passed to make a vibed-out cannabis retail cafe happen in the SoMa, a rising neighborhood in the city I was born and raised in,” said founder of Mirage Medicinal in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, John Weitz.
Assembly Bill 1207, sponsored by Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, garnered strong opposition. It introduces strict product labeling and packaging restrictions, potentially affecting smaller and minority-led businesses that rely on unique branding and imagery, as this bill could affect their competitiveness. Senate Bill 512, which aimed to address marijuana tax reform, also failed to advance.
The state’s cannabis industry is closely watching these bills, with anticipation for the approval of measures supporting social equity and consumption lounges while hoping for modifications or rejection of the labeling restrictions. The fate of each bill now lies with Governor Newsom.