Brown Vetoes Compassionate Care

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
A flurry of bills approved during California’s 2018 legislative session met their fate over the weekend.
 
Zack Ruskin, SF Weekly
 
One of the most substantial victories was AB 1793, which will automatically expunge or re-sentence prior cannabis convictions, expanding on efforts already underway in San Francisco and Alameda counties.
 
In a statement, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri praised AB 1793 as “an important and necessary move to ensure justice for individuals previously criminalized for marijuana offenses in California.” The law requires the California Department of Justice to review conviction records for eligible individuals before July 1, 2019. NORML estimates that approximately 500,000 Californians stand to benefit from this new law, be it through the dismissal of past convictions, having their records sealed, or winning a substantial reduction of their current sentences.
 
Another bill that received Gov. Brown’s signature is AB 2020. Authored by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), the new law will allow for cities to approve temporary cannabis events. Currently, cities can only permit cannabis sales at special events if they took place at county fairgrounds.
 
Speaking with SF Weekly, Quirk emphasized how his bill will benefit small growers who can now potentially sell their crops at local events and better compete with large-scale producers.
 
“Much like we have great wineries in Napa and Sonoma,” he said, “we have great cannabis grown locally in Mendocino and in other counties in the northern part of the state. Now they can get their product out there and explain why it’s a better product. I think that this is a way for us to preserve the small grower.”
 
While hesitant to draw any conclusions about how AB 2020 might be seen as a stepping-stone to cannabis sales at mainstream festivals like San Francisco’s Outside Lands or Napa’s BottleRock, Quirk emphasized that bipartisan support was a huge factor in getting his bill to Brown’s desk.
 
“There are Democrats that don’t care for cannabis, and there are Republicans who think it’s important to legalize,” he said. “I got support from both parties and opposition from both parties. While I would certainly say, as a party, that the Democrats are more supportive, this bill would not have happened without support from Republicans.”
 
In total, Gov. Brown approved 17 cannabis-related bills, including AB 2215 (which permits veterinarians to discuss cannabis with pet owners), SB 1295 (which will create a statewide equity program similar to ones already in place in several Bay Area cities), and AB 2914 (which bans cannabis licensees from serving alcohol and alcoholic-beverage licensees from serving cannabis at their respective, permitted establishments).