January 30, This Week in Weed

Tracking Legislation in Sacramento

With the 2020 legislative season underway, HCGA is working to track all active cannabis legislation making its way through Sacramento, with a full list available and updated here. To this point only a few bills have been introduced, but between now and the end of the legislative season, we expect dozens of bills with potential impacts on Humboldt County businesses to make their way through the state legislature.

Developing a 2020 Policy Strategic Plan

Going into 2020, HCGA staff has been working to develop a policy strategic plan that sets the tone for HCGA’s government affairs program and communicates our most pressing priorities to policymakers in Sacramento and beyond. Based on the results of December’s policy survey, we’re proposing five areas of focus that we think are high-priority and achievable in 2020:

  • Reduce and streamline taxes.
  • Protect the integrity of appellations and county of origin.
  • Reduce regulatory burden on independent businesses.
  • Reduce barriers to cannabis cooperatives.
  • Ensure the viability of Humboldt businesses in interstate commerce.

For more background, staff has put together a more detailed set of draft recommendations here.

These recommendations are open for feedback and revision until February 10, when HCGA’s policy committee will vote on final approval.

Trade Samples Legislation

A major barrier in state cannabis regulations has been restrictions on the ability for businesses to provide trade samples to business partners, a normal business practice in every other industry, and a restriction that most heavily burdens small and independent businesses that rely on quality to differentiate themselves.

Over the past month, HCGA’s government affairs program has been tracking SB 692, proposed legislation which would have streamlined access to business-to-business trade samples for distributors and retailers, but would have explicitly excluded cultivators and manufacturers. After discussion on the Industry Affairs Call, HCGA staff engaged with the author’s office and requested amendments that would ensure cultivators and manufacturers equal access to trade samples.

Ultimately, we learned this week that SB 692 was held in committee and will not move forward this year. But conversation has now shifted to a new piece of legislation: SB 475, which also deals with trade samples. Unlike SB 692, SB 475 doesn’t explicitly exclude cultivators and manufacturers, but it contains several provisions that could create barriers for producers hoping to distribute trade samples, including a requirement that samples can only be transported under personal possession limits of one ounce of flower or eight grams of concentrate.

If you’d like to join a working group to help develop HCGA’s position on SB 475, please email ross@hcga.co. We’ll be working over the next week and a half to develop comments for the author’s office to help make trade samples work for independent producers, and not just for larger, vertically-integrated businesses.