2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

In March 2021, California regulators announced a $15 million grant program to expand economic justice opportunities for communities most impacted by decades of cannabis prohibition. In cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Economic and Business development, the Bureau will issue a series of low-zero interest grants to be awarded by selection from local jurisdictions. This grant is coming in on top of an existing $40 million in cannabis equity funding; the stated goal of these grant campaigns has been to move capital into the hands of individuals who may not have access to it due to the intentional destruction of their families and livelihood brought by the War on Drugs.

The City of San Francisco chose to delay the imposition of their local tax ordinance on cannabis products set at between 1 and 5%. City officials were concerned about competition with the illicit market and felt the move could help them compete. Because cannabis is so heavily taxed in California, the cities’ decision to hold off on the taxes will only impact a small portion of the total taxes imposed by other rules, but it is a step in the right direction for Californians who want access to clean and safe cannabis affordably.

In 2022, ASA encourages California lawmakers to address the gaps in civil protections provided to patients in employment, DUI discrimination, and housing. Patients must be protected from facing discrimination in the workplace due solely to their status as a patient. This extends to barring employers from hiring/firing based on use and stopping employers from unfairly drug screening patients. As it stands, though patients cannot be denied a lease based on their status, individual leases can be written to keep patients from being allowed to dose at home. Patients must be able to take their medicine in the comfort of their own home without being able to worry about eviction. Additionally, the state must stop police officers from unfairly discriminating against patients with roadside sobriety tests. Based on their status as a patient, an individual should be exempt from any roadside test looking for impairment due to cannabis. Finally, lawmakers should identify strategies to overcome local resistance to extending legal medical access to patients because too many localities across the state have made access difficult for patients.