California is the largest marijuana market in the U.S., so it is worthwhile to look forward and see what is in the works for this state’s cannabis industry in the new year. Here are some of the major things that could pan out in 2020.
- Courts Hear Marijuana Delivery Lawsuits
When Prop 64 was approved by California voters, local authorities were given the liberty to decide whether to accept or reject marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions.
That promise was put to the test and a row over how much control municipalities and cities have over the marijuana industry came to a head when state regulators insisted that marijuana businesses could deliver weed anywhere within the state while the local authorities say such deliveries should only happen in places that permitted marijuana businesses to set up shop.
In a twist of irony, the Fresno County Superior Court is set to start hearing a case pitting 24 cities against the California Bureau of Cannabis Control on April 20 (the unofficial marijuana holiday). The outcome of this case could either give weed companies some needed respite or hamper their activities even further.
- Legislative Changes
On January 1, Senate Bill 34 took effect and licensed businesses can now donate medical marijuana products to patients that are needy and cannot afford them.
More importantly for marijuana businesses, Assembly Bill 37 seeks to allow companies to deduct their operational costs before their tax liability is computed. This is a major piece of legislation because it effectively sweeps aside federal laws that have denied marijuana businesses the same tax benefits that other businesses enjoy.
A legislative change that is likely to rub weed businesses and consumers the wrong way is Assembly Bill 1810. This bill seeks to ban passengers in taxis, limos and other commercial vehicles from consuming marijuana. This means that the idea of weed party buses has gone up in smoke.
Marijuana businesses insist that California needs to make many more legal reforms if the industry is to survive or even thrive given the challenges that it has faced in the first three years of legal recreational cannabis sales.
- Expunging Criminal Records
Prop 64 set out a process through which people with marijuana convictions could apply to have their records expunged or charges amended. However, records show that only a tiny fraction of potential beneficiaries has applied for expungement, partly due to the costs and complications of the process.
Assembly Bill 1793 passed in 2018 gave a July 2020 deadline in which local prosecutors have to track down and process the expungement or retroactive downgrading of cannabis convictions. As this deadline looms, thousands are likely to be eligible for housing, employment and other benefits they were denied as a result of their convictions.
- Cleaning Up Weedmaps
Weedmaps was started to provide marijuana consumers with information about the places where they could buy weed legally in California. However, state regulators warned the directory about having listings of unlicensed marijuana sellers and Gov. Newsom enacted a law that imposed fines of up to $30,000 for each day that an unlicensed marijuana seller remains operational.
Weedmaps is likely to make good on its promise to remove illicit sellers from its directory and the outcome of this action could reveal how much damage delisting those unlicensed businesses does to the cannabis black market.
It is widely believed that the entire marijuana industry, including companies like No Borders Inc. (OTC: NBDR) and Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD), could be keeping a close eye on events in California since they can reveal what may happen elsewhere over time.
CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
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