AB1575 Moves Forward, Amended, in the California Senate

The California State Senate today took action this week on AB1575, the medical cannabis "clean-up bill" today. The Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee amended and then passed the bill out of committee, and then sent the bill back to the Government and Finance Committee.

A prior version of the bill has already passed the Assembly, and of course we provided a summary of its key points.

The State Senate's amendments make the following changes from the Assembly-passed version.

First, the Senate version of AB1575 clarifies that the definitions of “commercial cannabis activity” and “commercial marijuana activity” apply to non-profits and operations that give away cannabis. As a result, non-profits who deal in cannabis in a commercial fashion, even if they give it away for free, will need a license.

Second, the Senate version of AB1575 specifically allows cities to contract with counties to perform cannabis regulatory activity. This will be valuable for smaller cities that lack the infrastructure for a well-operated licesning and regulatory function.

Third, the Senate version requires that the local license necessary to obtain a state cannabis license must be "specific to commercial cannabis activity." That would clarify that a general city business license is insufficient to get a state license. If you want a state license, you need a local cannabis license.

Fourth, the Senate version omits the "special dispensary" license category. This is a category for dispensaries with 3 or fewer locations.

Fifth, the Senate version adds new requirements for testing labs, including prohibiting testing by the lab for a non-licensed commerical cannabis business. It also requires the Department of Health to make regulations governing labs as well as destruction of batches of cannabis that test non-compliant for health and safety reasons.

Sixth, the Senate version adds protections from criminal prosecution for collectives that perform manufacturing under certain circumstances.