Cannabis Trailer Bill Heard in Assembly

On Tuesday, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No.4 on State Administration held a lengthy hearing on the Administration’s implementation of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), as well as a presentation on the Administration’s rationale for the Cannabis Trailer Bill.  Representatives of the Department of Finance, Department of Consumer Affairs – Bureau of Cannabis Regulation, Department of Public Health, Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Board of Equalization, provided updates about their implementation activities, followed by a presentation from the Department of Finance on the proposed budget trailer bill.  The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) also offered an overview on the proposed trailer bill and their general finding that aligning MCRSA and AUMA is appropriate.  The LAO noted trade-offs associated with eliminating the Medical Marijuana ID Card program mentioning that shifting the responsibility to the counties “on a voluntary basis” could potentially impact state and local sales tax revenues.

Budget subcommittee members asked very pointed questions about the Administration’s proposal to essentially create one regulatory structure for the oversight of cannabis in California.  Questions focused on the vertical integration of the industry as envisioned in the trailer bill language.  Concerns were also expressed that the trailer bill removes most of the major provisions of the MCRSA; in a somewhat unusual move, one of the MCRSA lead authors, Assembly Member Ken Cooley testified before the committee, on behalf of the other author/members (who all remain in the Legislature), about their concerns with the bill.

A variety of stakeholders provided input during public comment.  CHEAC weighed in with support for eliminating the Medical Marijuana ID Card program, and noted the lack of infrastructure to support a local identification card program. However, CHEAC also noted our support for the local discretion provided in the trailer bill.  The drafters of Proposition 64/AUMA, as well as the California Cannabis Industry Association, were in support of the Administration’s proposal whereas the Cannabis Growers Association was concerned about provisions that could allow the marketplace to become dominated by a few large conglomerates.  The League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association are opposed to the proposal for a myriad of reasons; of note to CHEAC members, the League is not in favor of eliminating the State ID card program.