CA Update: Scott Wiener's Safe Consumption Sites Pass Assembly, Bill To Remove Marijuana Grow Tax Heads To Gov. Newsom & More

Scott Wiener’s Safe Consumption Sites Bill Passes Assembly, Heads Back To Senate

The measure to authorize safe consumption sites for illicit drugs, through certain jurisdictions in California as part of a pilot program was approved by the state Assembly on Thursday.

Sen. Scott Wiener's (D) bill,  which passed in a 42-28 vote, was first introduced in 2020 and approved in the full Senate last year. Last month it got the green light from the Public Safety Committee after advancing through the Health Committee.

To reach the governor's desk the bill needs to go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote.

“Every overdose death is preventable,” Wiener said in a press release. “We have the tools to end these deaths, get people healthy, and reduce harm for people who use drugs. Right now, we are letting people die on our streets for no reason other than an arbitrary legal prohibition that we need to remove. SB 57 is long overdue, and will make a huge impact for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

California Bill To Provide Tax Relief For Marijuana Growers Heads To Gov.’s Desk

On Wednesday, California lawmakers passed a wide-ranging bill, AB 195, that seeks to eliminate a cannabis cultivation tax as it builds on Newsom’s amended budget proposal. The bill is now heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) desk.

In an attempt to combat the illicit cannabis market, Gov. Newsom presented a proposal in May that calls for eliminating the state’s marijuana cultivation tax.

The measure aims to minimize the influence of illicit operators, reduce pressure on licit operators and stimulate competition in the formal market.

“Current tax policies disproportionately burden cannabis farmers, create additional administrative costs and instability throughout the supply chain, and lack sufficient transparency for the state, businesses, and consumers. (...) These outcomes undermine the societal benefits of a taxed and regulated market,” as per the revised budget.

Major changes include setting the cultivation tax rate at zero beginning July 1, 2022; shifting the point of collection and remittance for excise tax from distribution to retail on January 1, 2023 -maintaining a 15 percent excise tax rate; and “strengthening tax enforcement policies to increase tax compliance and collection and reduce unfair competition”.

Bill To Require Cannabis Warnings About Mental Disorder Risks Advances Through Legislature

In the meantime, it seems that the support for Senate Bill 1097, the Cannabis Right to Know Act, which would establish a new warning label requirement on all marijuana products starting January 2025 is gaining steam.

Introduced by Sen. Richard Pan earlier this year, the measure saw some “strong opposition” among cannabis activists and stakeholders.

The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) issued a call to action in May pointing out that “the bill would add duplicative labeling requirements to cannabis products that will do very little to protect public health or undercut the illicit market, but will instead unfairly penalize legal operators who already comply with stringent labeling and childproof packaging requirements.”

The legislation sponsored by the Public Health Institute was amended on June 21 in the Committee on Business and Professions.

California NORML’s Dale Gieringer told High Times that “consumers should be educated about the risks of psychotic reactions, especially in connection with high-THC concentrates and dabs.”

However, SB 1097 might not be the right answer to the issue.

“It doesn’t make sense to be posting these warnings on harmless products like topicals or high-CBD varieties. Consumers weren’t consulted by the authors of SB 1097,” Gieringer said. “We think more research is needed to determine the best way of informing consumers about the risks of THC over-consumption.”

Photo: Courtesy of Benzinga

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