California cannabis officials prefer to loosen cannabis restrictions during the pandemic in order to help the industry stay on its feet and earn some extra revenue.
The California Cannabis Advisory Committee (CCAC) has recommended changes that would give the state’s cannabis industry a jump on both the illicit industry and the challenges presented by COVID-19 during this difficult year. “The state has faced unprecedented circumstances in 2020: the global COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession, a record-breaking wildfire season, and the nationwide fight for racial justice and equality,” the panel officially wrote in their annual report.
In the CCAC’s proposal, which was approved on December 9, the committee suggested the removal of the $5,000 limit on how much cannabis can be transported during deliveries. It also asked for the first steps to be made so that cannabis lounges can begin to serve edibles, and seeks to expand what one can do with a microbusiness license so that more people can process cannabis. In total, the California Cannabis Advisory Committee has made 17 recommendations for cannabis regulation changes.
The Los Angeles Times suggests that Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration is considering these changes, at least for the time being. “The Administration has made clear that we are committed to assessing our framework and making improvements and adjustments when warranted,” said Nicole Elliott, the governor’s senior advisor on cannabis, claimed in a statement. “To this end, we will carefully consider any recommendations the Committee sends our way, and we are grateful for their work.”
Some opponents of cannabis legalization believe that the Bureau of Cannabis Control, which oversees the CCAC, is making decisions that are harmful to the public. “Recent recommendations continue to chip away at any semblance of protections to the public,” said Vice President of Americans Legalizing Marijuana, Scott Chipman. “The BCC has no real incentive to protect the public. It is an agency that serves the pot industry.” However, within the CCAC’s report, the committee recommended cannabis test expansions, including a partnership with the University of California to create a “expert scientific task force” to examine how cannabis affects those under the influence while driving.
The stubborn illicit cannabis industry in the state, COVID-19’s crippling impact, high taxes and strict regulations have made things tough on cannabis in the state, despite the large number of people who have turned to cannabis during the pandemic.