California bill aims to end confusion over cannabis insurance coverage

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Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, attributed the legislative success to “people being more comfortable with cannabis politics” six years after voters approved recreational use in Golden. State. (Credit: Jason Doiy/The Recorder)

California’s legislative session has come to a close, wrapping up what has been a productive eight months for the cannabis industry lobby that has seen the state lPolicymakers send bills to governor clarifying insurance coverage issues, creating workplace protections for marijuana users, laying the groundwork for interstate cannabis trade and requiring cities to allow some type of medical marijuana delivery.

Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, attributed the legislative success to “people being more comfortable with cannabis politics” six years after voters approved recreational use in Golden. State. And, she said, “a real recognition has happened this year of just how struggling the industry is.”

Here’s a look at some of the legislation pending action by Governor Gavin Newsom.

>> Insurance. A B 2568 clarifies that insurers can sell policies to legally operating cannabis businesses. Specifically, the bill provides that it is not a crime only for individuals and businesses to provide insurance and related services to persons legally authorized to engage in commercial activities related to cannabis.

>> Workplace testing. AB 2188 makes it illegal in most cases to discriminate against a candidate or employee who uses marijuana, as long as they are not intoxicated on the job. If Newsom signs the bill, California will become the latest state to engage in the thorny debate over how to balance an employer’s right to create a drug-free workplace while protecting employees who legally use drugs. cannabis.

The bill “limits employers with respect to the ability to test and take action against employees who have used a substance outside of working hours and who report to work without impairment,” said Chris Olmsteda labor law partner in Ogletree Deakins‘ San Diego Office. “This is a change in that historically a company could impose a drug testing policy on applicants and employees and if it detected a level of marijuana metabolite in the person’s system, it could take unfavorable measures against the worker. This will no longer be the case.”

Notably, the bill amends the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, which has historically protected workers from harassment and discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and disabilities.

“I see commentators noting that it puts drug use on a par with those characteristics, which some people find a bit confusing,” Olmsted said. “At the end of the day, if there is going to be litigation on this topic, it remains to be seen how it will matter.”

>> Cannabis delivery. SB 1186 prohibit cities and counties, beginning in 2024, from prohibiting deliveries of medical marijuana within their borders, even in jurisdictions that have chosen not to allow dispensaries or other related operations to cannabis.

Although California has permitted the use of marijuana for medical purposes since 1996, the state has historically given local governments wide latitude in deciding whether or not to allow licensed cannabis operations in their jurisdictions. Industry advocates say this encourages the illicit market to thrive in banned cities and counties.

Local governments will still be able to enact “reasonable” regulations on zoning, security requirements and tax enforcement.

>> Interstate Cannabis Agreements. Marijuana may still be federally illegal, but SB 1326 authorizes the governor to sign import-export agreements with other states that regulate cannabis. Such agreements should meet certain labeling, tracking and testing standards.

Robinson said any kind of interstate commerce is likely years away given the federal ban, but the bill establishes “a solid foundation” for future agreements. Marijuana for recreational and medical use is now legal in all states neighboring California.

Another measure passed by the California legislature this quarter is AB 1885allowing veterinarians to recommend marijuana products for sick pets.

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