A Deep Dive into California’s Assembly Bill 128: The Future of Cannabis Event Licensing

In a landmark move for the cannabis industry in California, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 128 into law. This pivotal legislation grants state regulators the authority to license Cannabis Event Organizers, marking a significant shift in the state’s burgeoning cannabis market.

Under the new law, Cannabis Event Organizers are defined as “a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at a county fair event, district agricultural association event, or at another venue expressly approved by a local jurisdiction.” This means that, for the first time, cannabis can be legally sold and consumed at a wide range of public events, provided the organizer has obtained the necessary license.

One of the key aspects of Assembly Bill 128 is its approach to licensing. The bill exempts owners who have previously submitted fingerprint images and related information in connection with a valid state license issued by a licensing authority. This means that if an owner has already undergone the licensing process for a different type of cannabis business, they will not need to submit new fingerprints for a cannabis event organizer license.

According to cannabis attorney Damian Nassiri, this is great news for cannabis business license seekers because “under the old laws, it was very difficult to get a cannabis event license which allowed cannabis sales and consumption.  So the laws are getting more relaxed and cannabis businesses are starting to be more accepted and treated like normal businesses.  An event organizer will still need the permission of the local city and/or county in order to hold the event, and hopefully the cannabis event organizers are not taxed to death, but this is great news for cannabis business owners and cannabis consumers.”

Furthermore, the Department of Cannabis Control is prohibited from considering criminal history information from a previous check of that owner when considering whether to issue a subsequent state license. This provision is significant as it reduces barriers for existing cannabis business owners to diversify into event organizing, fostering growth and innovation within the industry.

The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) already authorizes the issuance of a state temporary event license for onsite cannabis sales and consumption at approved venues. Assembly Bill 128 builds on this by adding Type 13—Cannabis Event Organizer to the codified list of license classifications. This new classification recognizes the unique role and responsibilities of cannabis event organizers and provides a clear regulatory framework for their operations.

Several cities and counties in California are already ahead of the curve, offering cannabis event licenses or considering doing so. For instance, San Francisco and Oakland have been proactive in this area, recognizing the potential economic and social benefits. Other jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles County and the city of San Diego, are also considering offering cannabis event licenses.

However, each city and county may have its own specific requirements and processes for obtaining a cannabis event license. This is where having a skilled cannabis law expert on your side can make all the difference. They can guide you through the process, ensuring you meet all the necessary requirements and helping you avoid potential legal pitfalls.

Moreover, understanding the broader landscape of cannabis business licenses in California can be crucial for anyone looking to enter or expand in the cannabis industry. With the passage of Assembly Bill 128, the opportunities are expanding, but so are the complexities of the regulatory environment.

At Cannabis Law Group, we’re here to help you navigate this new landscape. With our deep understanding of cannabis law and our commitment to our clients, we can provide the guidance you need to take advantage of these new opportunities. Contact us today at 949-375-4734 to learn more about how we can assist you.


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