Newsom signed all the major cannabis reform bills that came to his desk in 2022, including those protecting employment rights and pain patients’ rights. He has been criticized for not pushing hard enough to reduce burdensome taxes and regulations on cannabis, but as part of this year’s state budget, he signed legislation to eliminate the cannabis cultivation tax and support equity businesses. He has long championed marijuana legalization, and convened a Blue-Ribbon panel on the topic while Lt. Governor.
Important Actions Taken:
Taking aggressive action to protect communities, consumers, and the environment alike, Governor Gavin Newsom has directed the creation of a new multi-agency, cross-jurisdictional taskforce of enforcement agencies designed to better coordinate agencies combatting illegal cannabis operations and transnational criminal organizations. (October 2022)
Holds office Governor
Governor Newsom signed several marijuana-related bills into law in 2019. These include Senate Bill 34, which provides tax breaks for facilities that provide free medical cannabis to disadvantaged patients, Assembly Bill 420, which authorizes the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to cultivate cannabis for clinical trials, and Senate Bill 223, which permits parents or guardians to administer non-smoked formulations of cannabis to patients while on K-12 school campuses. Former Gov. Jerry Brown had previously vetoed legislation similar to SB 223 and SB34. He also signed an omnibus transportation bill that banned cannabis use in limousines and corporate buses. (Link)(Link)(Link)
In 2022, Newsom signed AB 1954, a bill to end discrimination against pain patients and others who use cannabis by their doctors.
The Governor vetoed Senate Bill 305 in 2019, which sought to mandate certain health facilities to allow terminally ill patients the option to use medical cannabis on their premises citing "significant conflicts between federal and state law." He came around in 2021, signing a similar measure after amendments were taken, and also signed SB 988 in 2022, a bill to further clarify the federal question.
"It is my goal to look at tax policy to stabilize the market," he said. "And at the same time, it is also my goal to get these municipalities to wake up to the opportunities to get rid of the illegal market, the illicit market, and provide support in a regulatory framework for the legal market." 1/14/22
In 2019, Governor Newsom signed a general order mobilizing the national guard to combat illicit cannabis grow operations, among other activities. He has also called for consolidating the various regulatory departments that oversee licensed cannabis production and retail sale activities in the state. “Establishing a stand-alone department with dedicated enforcement will centralize and align critical regulatory functions to build a successful legal cannabis market, and create a single point of contact for cannabis licensees and local governments,” Newsom stated in his 2020 budget plan. (Link)
As state Lieutenant Governor, Newsom empaneled the state's Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy and campaigned on behalf of California's 2016 adult use marijuana legalization law -- urging voters to “Vote YES on Prop. 64.” (7/6/16) (Link)
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