Two senate bills, SB 302 and SB 700, were passed to California Governor Newsom where they were signed into law, expanding cannabis rights for both patients and employees.
California is experiencing a wave of cannabis legislation. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed two bills into law. These measures were Senate Bill 302 (SB 302) and Senate Bill 700 (SB 700) (1).
Senate Bill 302 allows patients aged 65 and older, who meet the qualifications, access to specific cannabis products in eligible health care facilities and private hospitals. However, this new piece of legislation does not enable patients to vaporize or inhale their cannabis in health care settings. Another thing to note is that health care staff are not allowed to administer cannabis products to their patients. California isn’t the only state to permit the use of certain cannabis products in health care environments, similar laws can be found in Connecticut and Maine (1).
Governor Newsom’s second piece of legislation signed into law, Senate Bill 700, clarifies workplace conduct regarding cannabis. With this bill, it is now considered “unlawful for employers to ‘request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis,’” (1). Another law passed in 2022 benefiting worker protections. The bill made “it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace,” (1). These two bills will be enacted officially on January 1, 2024.
States such as New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Montana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Washington, and Minnesota have signed into law various bills that restrict businesses from firing or hiring employees because of their use of cannabis outside of the workplace.
A third bill titled Assembly Bill 374 (AB 374) was unfortunately vetoed by the California governor. AB 374 would have entitled cannabis consumption facilities to serve customers “ non-cannabis food or beverage products” (1), as well as charge tickets for live performances. Governor Newsom commented on the vetoing of AB 374 by saying it (1), “could undermine California’s long-standing smoke-free workplace protections.”
Aside from California’s new workplace legislation, the golden state has been busy passing other measures to help better the cannabis industry. Recently, Senate Bill 622 (SB 622), was brought to Governor Newsom’s desk and signed into law (2). SB 622’s agenda is to reduce plastic waste in California’s cannabis industry. With all of these updates regarding cannabis, California will be a state to keep an eye on and see how it grows.