California Cannabis Bills Introduced in the California Legislature in 2023

These are the significant cannabis bills proposed in the California Legislature in 2023. This page provides highlights of select cannabis bills as well as an index of all cannabis bills. Each bill contains a link to a page that provides an explanation of existing law and what that bill would do.  Each of those pages contains a link to the official California Legislative Information website page for that bill where readers can get more info on the bill including the actual text, votes, history, bill analysis, status, and more.

September 14 is the last day for any bill to be passed in 2023.  October 14, 2023 is the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills.

Highlights of the 2023 California Cannabis Law Legislative Update

February 17, 2023 was the last day for bills to be introduced. For 2023, lawmakers in the California Assembly and Senate introduced over thirty bills touching on cannabis.

These bills address, among other matters: the transfer of California cannabis licenses; allowing a cannabis retailer to sell non-cannabis-infused food & beverages as well as tickets for performances; allowing cannabis licensees to make and sell hemp products; creating a new state cannabis caterer license; cannabis testing; track and trace data & the California Cannabis Authority; California FAIR Plan Association property reinsurance; unpaid invoices by cannabis licensees; cannabis advertisements & marketing; small producer event sales licenses; labeling and advertising; cannabis flavors; cannabis delivery employees; $15M for local equity programs; cannabis product recalls and testing; enforcement activities against unlawful cultivation & sale of cannabis; prescription drug warnings for negative interactions with cannabis; the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); an extended state provisional license timeline for local equity retail applicants; expanding the California Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law to a patient who is over 65 years of age with a chronic disease; cannabis taxation; mandatory product labels or inserts regarding the risks that cannabis use may cause consumers; unique identifiers attached to each cannabis plant; employment discrimination; cannabis activities that result in environmental harm being charged as felonies; cannabis investigations by the California State Water Resources Control Board; seizure of property; a cannabis licensing fallowing program; and more.

As is usual, some placeholder cannabis bills were introduced that will be amended later with substantive provisions.

Here are more detailed highlights of select cannabis bills.

AB 221 and SB 72 (Budget Act of 2023) will be largely guided by the California Governor’s Proposed 2023-24 State Budget which includes $95.4 million in the 2023-24 General Fund to backfill an estimated decline in revenues to the state Cannabis Tax Fund. The Governor’s Budget Proposal also focuses on cannabis enforcement. Lawmakers must pass the budget bill by June 15 (that deadline does not apply to budget-related bills).

AB 351 would grant to the California Department of Cannabis Control the sole authority to transfer, assign, or reassign cannabis licenses.

AB 374 would specify that a local jurisdiction exercising the authority described above may allow the retailer or microbusiness to sell noncannabis food and beverage products and allowing, and selling tickets for, live musical or other performances on the premises in addition to smoking, vaporizing, and ingesting of cannabis or cannabis products. (See related Senate Bill 285.)

AB 420 would state that MAUCRSA does not prohibit a cannabis licensee from manufacturing, distributing, or selling products that contain industrial hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp, if the product complies with all applicable state laws and regulations.

AB 471 would authorize the California Department of Cannabis Control to issue a state caterer license allowing the licensee to serve cannabis or cannabis products at a private event approved by a local jurisdiction for the purpose of allowing event attendees 21 years of age or older to consume the cannabis or cannabis products that is not hosted, sponsored, or advertised by the caterer.

AB 623 would require the California Department of Cannabis Control to establish regulations to adjust testing variances for edible cannabis products that include less than 5 milligrams of THC in total.

AB 687 would require the California track and trace program, if the sale of cannabis is conducted by delivery, to capture the ZIP Code of the delivery address. The bill would allow specified local agencies and the California Cannabis Authority to have access to track and trace data.

AB 741 would prohibit the California FAIR Plan Association, a joint property reinsurance association, from refusing to issue, canceling, or refusing to renew coverage because of cannabis.

AB 766 would require a California cannabis licensee to pay for goods and services sold or transferred by another licensee no later than 15 days following the final date set forth in the invoice, the reporting of unpaid invoices to the California Department of Cannabis Control and disciplinary action if the licensee fails to pay the invoice.

AB 794 would require all cannabis advertisements and marketing to include the licensee’s name in addition to the licensee number.

AB 993 would expand the task force on regulation of commercial cannabis activity to include representatives from the Civil Rights Department and the Department of Industrial Relations.

AB 1111 would require the California Department of Cannabis Control to issue small producer event sales licenses that authorize the licenseholder to sell cannabis at specified state temporary events for no more than 32 total days of sales at temporary events per calendar year.

AB 1126 would specify that a citation by the California Department of Cannabis Control may be for a claim or representation of a product as licensed cannabis without a license, including the unlicensed use of the cannabis universal symbol.

AB 1171 would authorize a California cannabis licensee to bring an action in superior court against a person engaging in commercial cannabis activity without a license, authorize the court to enjoin the activity, and require the court to award a prevailing plaintiff their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

AB 1207 would prohibit the sale or manufacture of cannabis or cannabis products that are attractive to children, and by prohibiting the advertisement and marketing of cannabis or cannabis products in a way that is attractive to children. This bill would also prohibit cannabis or cannabis products intended for use by inhalation or combustion from containing any natural or synthetic flavors or descriptors of flavors.

AB 1424 would, among other things, require a cannabis delivery employer to develop, implement, and maintain specified driver safety protocols allowing a cannabis delivery employee to not complete a delivery if the delivery would create a real and apparent hazard to the employee or fellow employees. It would also create a rebuttable presumption that the cannabis delivery employer violates existing California labor law if the employer lays off, discharges, or subjects an employee to an adverse employment action within 90 days of the employee reporting or documenting an incomplete delivery or refusing to complete a delivery that would create a real and apparent hazard.

AB 1448 would authorize a local jurisdiction, by ordinance, to make a violation of a local law relating to cannabis or cannabis products subject to an administrative fine or penalty.

AB 1565 would require an annual disbursement of up to $15M from the California Cannabis Tax Fund to support local equity programs.

AB 1610 would require the California Department of Cannabis Control to maintain on its website a record of cannabis product recall orders issued. This bill would require a testing laboratory to be subject to blind proficiency testing to ensure consistency of results across laboratories and would require the DCC to establish a standard laboratory blind proficiency test method to be utilized by all testing laboratories. This bill would subject testing laboratories to annual audits by the DCC and require the results of those audits to be posted on the DCC website. This bill would require the DCC to establish standard operating procedures for conducting audits and establish quality assurance standards and testing procedures for cannabis products.

AB 1616 would require the Board of State and Community Corrections in disbursing California Cannabis Tax Fund grants, to prioritize local governments whose programs seek to address the unlawful cultivation and sale of cannabis, and would also authorize the board to make grants to local governments that ban both indoor and outdoor commercial cannabis cultivation, or ban retail sale of cannabis or cannabis products.

AB 1619 would require a pharmacist that dispenses a prescription drug to a patient for use that has major or moderate interactions with edible or inhaled cannabis or cannabidiol products affix an auxiliary label to the prescription container with that information.

AB 1684 would allow local ordinances to immediately impose administrative fines or penalties for the violation of building, plumbing, electrical, or other similar structural, health and safety, or zoning requirements if the violation exists as a result of, or to facilitate, any unlicensed commercial cannabis activity. This bill would authorize the local ordinance to declare unlicensed commercial cannabis activity a public nuisance and authorize the ordinance to impose the administrative fine or penalty on the property owner and each owner of the occupant business entity and to hold them jointly and severally liable.

AB 1719 would provide that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not apply to specified actions taken by the department or a local jurisdiction that authorize commercial cannabis activity consisting of retail, distribution, manufacture, or laboratory testing, if specified conditions related to the premises are met. (See related Senate Bill 508.)

SB 51 would authorize the California Department of Cannabis Control to issue a provisional license for a local equity applicant for retailer activities, indefinitely, if the applicant meets specified requirements. It would authorize the department to renew a provisional license until it issues or denies the provisional licensee’s annual license, subject to specified requirements, or until 5 years from the date the provisional license was issued, whichever is earlier.

SB 285 would authorize a local jurisdiction to allow for the preparation or sale of noncannabis food or beverage products by a licensed retailer or microbusiness in the area where the consumption of cannabis is allowed, and to allow for the sale of prepackaged, noncannabis-infused, nonalcoholic food and beverages by a licensed retailer. (See related Assembly Bill 374.)

SB 302 would expand the California Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law to a patient who is over 65 years of age with a chronic disease.

SB 508 would provide that CEQA does not apply to the issuance of a state cannabis license if the local jurisdiction has filed a notice of exemption or a notice of determination following the adoption of a negative declaration or certification of an environmental impact report pursuant to CEQA that is specific to the applicant’s commercial cannabis activity or license. (See related Assembly Bill 1719.)

SB 512, beginning January 1, 2024, would exclude from the term “gross receipts” under the Sales and Use Tax Law the amount of the cannabis excise tax imposed under the Cannabis Tax Law and the amount of any tax imposed by a city or county on the privilege of engaging in commercial cannabis activity. This bill would also prohibit a city or county from including in the definition of gross receipts, for purposes of any local tax or fee on the privilege of engaging in commercial cannabis activity the amount of any cannabis excise tax imposed under the Cannabis Tax Law or any sales and use taxes.

SB 540 would require the California Department of Cannabis Control to adopt regulations for cannabis and cannabis product labels or inserts regarding the risks that cannabis use may cause consumers, and require the DCC to create a single-page flat or folded brochure to be displayed at the point of sale in person or online.

SB 622 would require the unique identifier to be attached at the base of each cannabis plant, attached in close proximity to each plant, or attached in a manner as otherwise required by regulation.

SB 700 would make it unlawful for a California employer to request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis.

SB 753 would add as conditions which could result in a felony charge the planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, or processing more than 50 living cannabis plants under certain conditions including a violation of pesticide provisions, taking or using water from a conveyance or storage facility without permission, and extraction or use of groundwater from an unpermitted well or from a permitted well in excess of a restriction.

SB 756 would authorize the California State Water Resources Control Board to obtain an inspection warrant and to participate in an inspection of an unlicensed cannabis cultivation site.

SB 820 would authorize the California Department of Cannabis Control or any local jurisdiction to seize specified property in the place or building, or within any yard or enclosure, where commercial cannabis activity is conducted without a license required by MAUCRSA, and to seize any vehicle used to conceal, convey, carry, deliver, or transport cannabis or cannabis products.

SB 833 would require the California Department of Cannabis Control, no later than March 1, 2024, to establish a cannabis licensing fallowing program for cannabis cultivators who choose to reduce or temporarily pause cultivating cannabis. A cultivation licensee who participates in the program would maintain their cultivation license and pay a reduced license fee.

Index of All California Cannabis Bills

AB 221 Budget Act of 2023; AB 335 Proposition 47: repeal; AB 351 Cannabis: license transfers; AB 374 Cannabis: local control: cannabis consumption; AB 420 Cannabis: industrial hemp; AB 471 Cannabis catering; AB 623 Cannabis: THC testing variances; AB 687 California Cannabis Authority; AB 741 The California FAIR Plan Association: cannabis; AB 766 Cannabis; AB 794 Cannabis: advertising and marketing restrictions; AB 993 Cannabis Task Force; AB 1111 Cannabis: appointees: prohibited activities; AB 1126 Cannabis: citation and fine; AB 1130 Substance use disorder; AB 1171 Unlicensed cannabis businesses and operators; AB 1207 Cannabis: labeling and advertising; AB 1424 Occupational safety and health: cannabis delivery employee; AB 1448 Cannabis: enforcement by local jurisdictions; AB 1565 California Cannabis Tax Fund: local equity program grants; AB 1610 Cannabis: Department of Cannabis Control; AB 1616 California Cannabis Tax Fund: Board of State and Community Corrections grants; AB 1619 Pharmacists: drug disclosures: cannabis or cannabidiol interactions; AB 1684 Local ordinances: fines and penalties: cannabis; AB 1719 Commercial cannabis activity; SB 51 Cannabis provisional licenses: local equity applicants; SB 72 Budget Act of 2023; SB 285 Cannabis: retail preparation, sale, and consumption of noncannabis food and beverage products; SB 302 Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law; SB 508 Cannabis: licenses: California Environmental Quality Act; SB 512 Cannabis: taxation: gross receipts; SB 540 Cannabis and cannabis products: health warnings; SB 622 Cannabis regulation: plant identification program: unique identifier; SB 700 Employment discrimination: cannabis use; SB 753 Cannabis: water resources; SB 756 Water: unlicensed cannabis cultivation site: procedure; SB 820 Cannabis: enforcement: seizure of property; SB 833 Cannabis licensing fallowing program: cultivation licenses: reduced license fee.

California Cannabis Bills Introduced in the California Legislature in 2023

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