Newsom Falls Slightly Short of Cannabis Advocates’ Expectations

Gavin Newsom, who led the campaign to legalize adult use marijuana in 2016, got his first real test on how he’d handle cannabis law as governor this year. And he performed so-so.

“The 2019 legislative session has been a mixed bag for the cannabis industry, but with priority bills signed by the governor in the final hours, the industry is optimistic about future partnership with the administration,” Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Assn., told the Los Angeles Times.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

While Newsom signed some important bills allowing for pot business tax write-offs, tax-free complimentary weed for patients, and a pathway for medical marijuana use on school grounds, he wasn’t afraid to break out his veto pen. He said no to marijuana tour busses and cannabis use in hospice facilities, for instance.

It has angered some. Others, like Jeannette Zanipatin, the state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, give him the benefit of the doubt.

“He’s sort of taking a somewhat cautious approach, but in a good way,” she said, noting he also signed a bill promoting social equity in the pot business.

Despite the handful of surprises, Newsom is still the most pro-weed governor the state has had. That’s not lost on the industry which, after years of prohibition, is embracing all victories, big and small.