More reforms pending

US (CA): Bills to authorize interstate cannabis commerce and seal records head to governor

California bills to set up the framework for interstate cannabis commerce, streamline record sealing for cannabis convictions, safeguard firms that provide insurance to businesses in the legal industry, and more are heading to the governor’s desk. There’s been a blizzard of cannabis legislation advancing through the legislature in recent weeks as the end of the session approaches, and several other bills are still pending, such as one that would prohibit localities from banning medical cannabis deliveries and another providing employment protections for people who use cannabis off the job.

But in recent days, lawmakers have given final passage a number of key reforms that are now being transmitted to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Among the most notable of those measures are SB 1326 from Sen. Anna Caballero (D) and AB 1706 from Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D).

The former bill would set the stage to allow for interstate marijuana commerce from California to and from other legal states, contingent on an official assurance that the activity would not put the state at risk of federal enforcement action. It advanced through the Assembly Appropriations Committee on the same week that New Jersey’s Senate president filed a bill to allow interstate cannabis commerce under similar circumstances. Then it moved through the full chamber before the final version was concurred with by the Senate on Thursday in a 28-9 vote.

Meanwhile, Bonta’s legislation is meant to enhance justice reform provisions of the state’s cannabis law by mandating the courts to process record sealing and other forms of relief for people with eligible cannabis convictions on their records in a specific timeframe. Courts would have until March 1, 2023, to seal records for qualifying cases that weren’t challenged by July 1, 2020.