New California Cannabis Laws

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A new state law says that it will soon be against the law for California employers to consider employees’ marijuana use outside of work when making hiring or firing decisions.

California is the seventh state that prohibits businesses from discriminating against workers who smoke pot “off the job and away from the workplace.” The law starts from Jan. 1, 2024.

Assembly Bill 2188, sponsored by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), forbids employers from making hiring, dismissing, or other employment decisions based on a drug test that discovers “nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites” in someone’s hair or urine. These metabolites do not indicate current impairment, but that someone took cannabis recently, up to weeks before.

People working in building and construction, as well as those seeking for or working in roles requiring a federal background clearance, are excluded under the new rule.

Employers may still need drug testing as a condition of employment as long as the tests “do not screen for nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites.” After using cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, forms a nonpsychoactive metabolite that can last weeks. This metabolite doesn’t show current impairment.

Newsom signed the following marijuana measures on Sunday:

SB 1326 would enable interstate marijuana commerce from California to other legal states, pending an official guarantee that the conduct would not put the state at risk of federal enforcement action.

AB 2188 would make it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on off-duty marijuana usage in hiring, firing, or any term or condition of employment. It would eliminate employment-based THC testing, save for government and construction workers.

SB 1186 would prevent local jurisdictions from establishing or implementing regulations that ban the retail sale by delivery of medicinal cannabis to patients or primary caregivers.

AB 1706: Bonta’s bill mandates record sealing and other sorts of relief for those with cannabis offenses in a set timeframe. Courts would have until March 1, 2023 to seal cases not challenged by July 1, 2020.

AB 1885 would ban authorities from punishing veterinarians who recommend medical cannabis for animals and define marijuana products for animal consumption. The Veterinary Medical Board must also draft cannabis recommendation guidelines.

Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D) sponsored AB 2568, which would make it legal for individuals and organizations to provide insurance and related services to commercial cannabis businesses.

AB 1894 would add advertising and labeling rules for cannabis vaporizer goods, mandating that they should be properly discarded and would constitute hazard waste if put away inappropriately.

AB 2210 prohibits state marijuana regulators from denying an application for a temporary event license based on an ABCA license for the event’s proposed location.

AB 2925 would compel the State Department of Health Care Services to account for cannabis tax funds transferred to the Youth Education, Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account by July 10, 2023.

AB 1646 would allow cannabis beverages to be packaged in clear or colored containers.

The governor hasn’t signed this marijuana bill:

SB 1396 This measure from the Committee on Governance and Finance would amend the state’s cannabis tax policy by allowing authorities to extend the deadline for tax payments by cannabis firms in emergency-declared areas.

When will interstate cannabis commerce begin?

Historically, California has led the market in weed quality, price, and product innovation. The development of strains in California has surpassed that of East Coast states by many months, if not years. This trend will continue as cannabis becomes legal.

Several bills in Congress have moved the idea forward, but none have been signed by the president.

Even with federal action, states would likely protect licensed farmers from California’s superior quality and lower prices on legal pot. For instance, growers in Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts might want their states to protect them from cheaper and better growers in California.

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