Will Local Cannabis Delivery Bans Return?
It is not looking promising for delivery companies. Regulations that allow delivery anywhere in the state could soon be repealed, despite 57% of California voters (69% in some counties) voting in favor of legal cannabis.
We first wrote about the delivery issue back in August. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) had just published their proposed permanent regulations for comment and added a provision allowing delivery throughout the state. Before the provision was approved, many companies were prohibited from making deliveries to certain cities and counties because they had banned delivery into their jurisdiction and created a patchwork of regulations. However, the problem ran deeper.
One year ago the Sacramento Bee did a study that found residents in about 40 percent of the state have to drive 60 miles or more to find a licensed dispensary to buy legal marijuana (~60% have to drive 30 miles or more) – these areas are known as ‘pot deserts.’ These Californians depend on delivery.
The BCC hoped to solve the problem of pot deserts by allowing statewide delivery, but the provision brought immediate and vocal criticism from cities and counties that had banned or highly restricted delivery.
Despite opposition, the BCC upheld their stance and section 5416(d) was codified in January 2019.
5416(d): “A delivery employee may deliver to any jurisdiction within the State of California provided that such delivery is conducted in compliance with all delivery provisions of this division.”
Meaning licensed delivery retailers can deliver cannabis to any jurisdiction in the state, even if that jurisdiction had banned delivery.
Currently there are two avenues with which the regulation might be repealed:
- Through the Courts: Some cities have said they would sue the BCC, with the City of Sonora announcing it would file a law suit back in February stating infringement on local control guaranteed by Prop 64.
- Through Legislation: California Assembly Bill 1530 was introduced February 22nd and if passed, would amend state law to authorize a local jurisdiction to adopt an ordinance or resolution that permits, restricts, limits, or bans the delivery of cannabis or cannabis products to a location within its jurisdictional boundaries.
Both avenues are far from being realized – litigation could take years and AB1530 is in its early stages and in committee without a hearing date. However, we urge those who believe in statewide delivery to oppose the legislation because it would mean a swift ban on deliveries to many, if not most, jurisdictions, spelling trouble for countless companies.
If you’re interested in delivery permits and where delivers can be made legally, give us a call and we can help you legally set up shop or make sure you are in compliance.