California governor Gavin Newsom signed a bunch of cannabis related bills in mid-September 2022. Two of those bills, in particular, have far-reaching effects on cannabis delivery in the Golden State. Without even knowing what the rules say, you probably suspect that delivery is now a lot easier.
If that was your guess, you are absolutely correct. Thanks to California’s legislature and governor, cannabis delivery in California – and out of state, for that matter – is a much easier proposition. Processors, dispensaries, and pharmacies will all benefit. Consumers will benefit, too.
Strengthening Local Delivery
The first bill has to do with local delivery. State law now dictates that local municipalities cannot prevent cannabis delivery within their borders. They are still free to ban dispensaries and pharmacies, but they must allow delivery companies to service consumers.
The law is seen as a big win for homebound medical cannabis patients and others who have historically found it difficult to travel to dispensaries or pharmacies in other communities. Now they will not have to travel to pharmacies or dispensaries. They can have pot brought right to their homes.
Transporting Cannabis Across State Lines
The second bill signed by Newsom targets cannabis transport across state lines. To date, doing so has been illegal. It is now legal under certain circumstances. For example, any state cannabis would have to travel through in order to reach his final destination will also have to allow interstate transport.
Strangely, the law only takes effect if and when Washington agrees not to prosecute people transporting cannabis across state lines. Under federal law, such activity is still illegal. Will Washington offer such assurances? That is up in the air.
Turning a Blind Eye
We obviously know that federal regulators and law enforcement have been turning a blind eye to state-legal cannabis since the legalization movement began in earnest back in the 1990s. But it’s not clear if Washington has ever issued an official document promising to not prosecute cannabis crimes.
The question for Californians is whether their state would recognize a verbal commitment to not prosecute. If so, anyone from the Biden DOJ could hold a press conference whereby a promise to not prosecute is made. Would that trigger the California law?
If I were the owner of a company looking to sell cannabis in neighboring states, I wouldn’t take my chances on a verbal agreement. There is too much at stake. A written agreement would be another matter entirely.
Transporting to Non-Reciprocating States
California’s new law doesn’t allow for home delivery or interstate transport to non-reciprocating states. Take Utah, for example. The owners of Brigham City’s Beehive Farmacy says that all the product they sell must be grown and processed in Utah. They could not accept deliveries from a California processor, as doing so would violate state law and the federal interstate transport rule.
Home delivery is allowed in Utah, but only through state-licensed pharmacies and delivery providers. And once again, any medical cannabis delivered to Utah residents would have to be produced in the state.
With all that said, California’s two new cannabis laws primarily benefit state consumers and companies in other states that want to do business with their California counterparts. The interstate transport law may become a moot point if Washington ever gets around to decriminalizing marijuana.
When all is said and done, California continues to be one of the most liberal states where cannabis production, distribution, and consumption are concerned. It is no surprise that Governor Newsom signed the two bills into law, along with eight others. That is the way California rolls.