Are you a legal cannabis consumer? Do you know about the new California Cannabis laws? Get informed here.
Although California was not the first state to fully legalize marijuana, they have taken a lot of steps very quickly to set up a legal pot market that rivals all others.
But with the emerging market, comes a lot of new regulations that can make life difficult for business owners. In fact, in just the past two years, California cannabis laws have changed immensely.
Read on to learn about the changes that will take place in 2019 so that your business will be prepared.
1. Many Will Have Their Cannabis Charges Dismissed
Under the new law AB-1793 that goes into effect in 2019, the Department of Justice in California will have seven months to put together a list of marijuana convictions to be evaluated by a panel. This panel will be looking to determine which of the cases should be dismissed and which marijuana charges should be reduced or removed from a record.
The law will start by looking through the records of those who are already in jail. As a result, many people who have been incarcerated will be released and their charges will be removed. The law is the first of its kind in the nation.
The bill is a continuation of efforts that were started by Proposition 64 that passed two years ago and it will affect the records of hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, estimates state that 218,000 records might be affected.
The process of hunting down cases that are relevant is expected to take a long time since they will be removing all of the charges but an automated system is being created to take on the task. Officials expect to complete the process by 2021.
2. Protections for Minors Against Online Advertisement Will be Expanded
Another bill that will go into effect in 2019 is AB 3067 which will ensure that youth under 21 will not be exposed to cannabis marketing online. The original law regarding minor advertising only applied to broadcast, cable, radio, and print.
But digital advertising concerns were largely ignored for those 18-21. But with the new law, any cannabis business, products, or paraphernalia, cannot be marketed towards those under 21. A large portion of the bill will apply to photos used for cannabis marketing that now have to feature models that are all over the age of 21 instead of 18.
3. Possession of an Ounce Remains Legal
Since January 1, 2018, it is legal to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana if you are age 21 or older or up to 8 grams of concentrate products.
You must consume your marijuana on private property with a consenting property owner. That means if your landlord or employer don’t want you to smoke, they can prohibit it. You also can’t smoke anywhere where tobacco smoking is prohibited.
But possession of marijuana in California is still a crime for those who are under the age of twenty-one or are present on K-12 school grounds.
4. You Can Still Grow Up to 6 Plants
Under California law, those that are at least twenty-one years old can grow up to six plants at their home indoors unless there are local regulations like those in some areas of Los Angeles County where outdoor cultivation is regulated.
Whether indoors or out, these plants have to be in a secure location where those under the age of twenty-one will not have access to them.
5. Home Deliveries Will be Legal in All Areas
As marijuana became legal all over California in 2018, some communities didn’t respond the same as others and in many communities, it remains difficult to find a store that sells marijuana.
For areas where there have been no rules established for legal sales and there is no commercial pot activity, residents will now be able to legally purchase marijuana from delivery services. This will help potential purchasers who are located in the vast stretches of the state that do not have shops to take part in the sales.
The bill was not endorsed by law enforcement agencies who claim it will become difficult to manage the delivery services and all of their transactions. But the bill was widely favored by customers and businesses who have been struggling to take advantage of the newly legal market.
6. A Bill to Change Taxation is Being Considered
In the beginning of 2019, the California House of Representatives introduced a bill that would give cannabis businesses a tax break in the short term to help them compete with the underground industry.
The house began considering the bill after tax revenues for cannabis sales came in $101 million below predicted amounts for the first six months of 2018. Officials believe that the shortfall in taxes comes from the exorbitant taxes that legal businesses face as they try to start up as well as the difficulty they face in getting access to bank financing and loans.
The bill, Assembly Bill 286, is being dubbed the Temporary Cannabis Tax Reduction bill and would cut the tax rate for retailers from 15 percent to 11 percent as well as suspend cultivation taxes until 2022 to give growers a fair chance to get up and running.
Since these businesses are all start-ups, the changes should help a lot of new growers and suppliers enter the industry and begin to pay taxes.
For Help Complying With California Cannabis Laws
Complying with California cannabis laws is difficult in an ever-changing political landscape. But there are steps your business can take to stay ahead of the curve and manage your finances.
For help with your books and securing financing for your business’ expansion contact us today for accounting and tax services customized for the California cannabis industry.