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Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Two New Cannabis Bills Would Set Violation Fines as High as $50,000 Per Day

AB 2094 and AB 2122 would crack down on unlicensed commercial cannabis sellers

By Evan Symon, March 14, 2020 2:28 am

Landlords and others who allow or assist unlicensed commercial cannabis companies to operate would face fines as high as $50,000 under two new bills currently awaiting committee hearings in the Assembly.

AB 2094 and AB 2122

The two bills differ largely on which violators they are targeting. Under Assembly Bill 2094, authored by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), a licencing authority operating under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) would fine commercial landlords up to $50,000 per day for each violation. Landlords in question would have to knowingly rent to unlicensed cannabis/marijuana companies for fining to be active.

Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Meanwhile, the Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) authored Assembly Bill 2122 would have the the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the State Department of Public Health work together with the Attorney General’s office under MAUCRSA to fine those who aid and abet unlicensed commercial cannabis/marijuana sellers up to $30,000 per day per violation. Unlike AB 2094, fines under AB 2122 would be civil fines.

While other cannabis bills are currently in the Assembly and Senate, such as the unlicensed cannabis civil fine tripling AB 2437, AB 2094 and AB 2122 are seen as the major cannabis fining bills this session.

Both Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer and Assemblywoman Rubio authored their respective bills as a means to crack down on illicit and black market marijuana sales. While those sales have been growing, it has hurt the legal marijuana industry, causing financial hardships and layoffs. Recent LAPD actions against unlicensed marijuana dealers have also found over $100,000 worth of untaxed marijuana and marijuana-related merchandise.

“As the Chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, I am concerned about the prevalence of the illicit cannabis market,” said Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer in a press release last month. “The voters and the Legislature have spent time and careful consideration in drafting regulations that ensure the health and safety of Californians.  Law-abiding businesses have spent time and resources to become compliant with cannabis regulations yet are struggling to compete with the illegal market because they can offer a cheaper product to consumers. This measure is crucial to helping the legal cannabis market grow in California and rewarding businesses that play by the rules.”

A need for large fines

In addition to a growing number of lawmakers, many legal cannabis sellers and marijuana advocates have praised the move.

“We did things the right way,” said Los Angeles budtender Tariq Smith. “We fought for Proposition 64 and won fairly in an election. Then me and the other store owners went through he proper channels to sell this legally, many times to people with medical needs. We’ve had people in their 20’s to people in their 90’s if you believe that. Point is we did everything right. Now we’re losing a lot of business to those who want to sell it the old way, but in the presentation of the new way.”

“It was a gray area for awhile. We need these [bills] so it protects those, like me, who did it all legally by the book and who legally pays taxes. Or else we’re gone and illegal sellers become a much larger problem.”

No major opposition is expected to any of the unlicensed marijuana crackdown bills, although there could be debate over the exact wording of the bills

Both AB 2094 and AB 2122 have been assigned committees and are expected to be debated in the next few months.

Evan Symon
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5 thoughts on “Two New Cannabis Bills Would Set Violation Fines as High as $50,000 Per Day

  1. These paltry bills are without scientific reasons. At this time of approaching physical danger to all age groups, but especially to seniors (especially those with extenuating conditions), it seems like a waste of time & energy to focus on them, rather than the life threatening conditions that will be encountered shortly. We need to enact laws that will: *Make it a government priority to prevent/slow down the progress of COVID 19!
    *identify those who have contracted COVID 19.
    *make treatment of those suffering from the Virus’s symptoms, available to all who need hospital placement &
    *provide home visits for them, to identify the course of this novel disease!
    *As many tests as possible need to be done, to confirm the presence of COVID 19. This must be conducted with approved test kits at reliable labs, for comgruity.
    * Keep records about all community acquired positive tests, that identify the progress & recovery from it that occurs.
    Government must budget for this urgent situation, or more deaths than happened in China, Iran, Italy, & South Korea will occur here in the USA!

    1. The government hates competition. just grow the legal 6 plants and don’t bother with the state laws or the drug dealers. . Yu can do that legally for yourself.

  2. The state doesn’t know how to compete in an open marketplace. They priced their product too high and customers left in droves. Lower the price for legal marijuana to a reasonable amount, and customers will return.

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