August 31, 2021 | Written By: An-Chi Tsou, PhD

Sacramento survived another round of suspense hearings late last week, with several bills held by the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees as legislators and stakeholders prepare for the last two weeks of the legislative session. With significant cannabis policy pushed through in the budget process (e.g. consolidation of regulatory agencies, trade samples, CEQA streamlining), few cannabis bills were due to be heard on suspense day. Here are the highlights on some keys bills that remained:

Although the legislative process ended the progress of many bills, some stakeholders still seek to use the budget process to continue to push their ideas to the Governor’s desk. Yes, the state budget was passed by the Legislature back in June and signed by Newsom in July. However, budget trailer bills may still be used to assist with its implementation. Ideas for policies including social equity, tax reform, and maximum limits for delivery vehicles are currently floating around the halls of Sacramento, but it is unclear which ones have the legs to become law. With limited time left in the session (all bills must pass by 11:59pm on September 10 to proceed to the Governor’s desk this year) and the newly-formed Department of Cannabis Control still working on consolidation efforts, advocates pushing new policies face an uphill battle. That said, a lot of policy can come together at the end-of-session and bills can be heavily amended to push last-minute legislation. Those that have the best chance of survival have authors and sponsors who have worked closely with the Administration and regulatory authorities to ensure that they will get Newsom’s signature if it hits his desk. Given current events, this is more challenging to do this year than in previous ones, but both Governor Newsom and the new department have indicated a desire to continue to establish policies to improve the state’s cannabis industry, so there is a chance for more new cannabis laws to emerge soon.

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Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.