What Happens to California’s Cannabis Bills Now?

The coronavirus has consumed nearly every facet of American life. Here in California, the Legislature has suspended its session. Even when it returns, we can expect many bills to fall by the wayside.

Before legislators abruptly adjourned for an early spring recess — now scheduled through April 13 and it probably will last even longer — the chairwoman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee had a message for her colleagues: You need to kill many, if not most, of your bills for 2020.

“I think any legislator who’s not rethinking what will be reconsidered important this year just isn’t doing their job,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) told me. “This changes everything.”

The impact is likely to be immense. By the bill introduction deadline in late February, there had been more than 2,200 proposed laws put forward for consideration — a tally that included far-reaching environmental, criminal justice and regulatory changes. Now, there simply won’t be time to fully vet many of those bills...

Other legislators and staffers have said they believe only three kinds of legislation will be left standing when the books are closed on 2020: coronavirus response plans, efforts to address homelessness and wildfire prevention proposals. — Los Angeles Times 

There are a number of important cannabis bills that have been introduced, including legislation that would lower cannabis taxes, Assembly Bill 1948.

Another effort to lower cannabis taxes—this one at the ballot box—could also be impacted by the pandemic, Leafly reports. Advocates for that measure have requested that signature gathering be allowed to move online. 

One thing is certain: everything has changed. Cannabis advocates hope reform efforts won't become a casualty of shifting priorities.